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Full text of "The war of the worlds"

popular Six Sbillins Hovels 

Edward Bellamy 

EQUALITY 

Hall Caine 

THE CHRISTIAN 
THE MANXMAN 
THE SCAPEGOAT 
THE BONDMAN 

Richard Harding Davis 

SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE 

Harold Frederic 

ILLUMINATION 

Sarah Grand 

THE BETH BOOK 

THE HEAVENLY TWINS 

IDEALA 

OUR MANIFOLD NATURE 

M. Hamilton 

THE FREEDOM OF HENRY MEREDYTH 
McLEOD OF THE CAMERONS 
A SELF-DENYING ORDINANCE 

Robert Hichens 

FLAMES 

THE FOLLY OF EUSTACE 

AN IMAGINATIVE MAN 

Annie E. Holdsworth 

THE GODS ARRIVE 

THE YEARS THAT THE LOCUST HATH EATEN 




W. E. Morris 

MARIETTA'S MARRIAGE 
THE DANCER IN YELLOW 
A VICTIM OF GOOD LUCK 
THE COUNTESS RADNA 

Flora Annie Steel 

IN THE PERMANENT WAY 
ON THE FACE OF THE WATERS 
THE POTTER'S THUMB 
FROM THE FIVE RIVERS 

Robert Louis Stevenson 

ST. IVES 
THE EBB TIDE 

I. Zangrwlll 

THE MASTER 

THE KING OF SCHNORRERS 
CHILDREN OF THE GHETTO 
THE PREMIER AND THE PAINTER 

LONDON : WILLIAM HEINEMANN 

21 BEDFORD STREET, W.C. 
And all Bookstllers and Bookstalls 



The 

War of the Worlds 



By 

H. G; Wells 

Author of ' The Time Machine,' ' The Island of Doctor Moreau,' 
' The Invisible Man,' etc. 



' But who shall dwell in these Worlds if they be inhabited ? 
. . . Are we or they Lords of the World ? . . . And 
how are all things made for man ?' 

KEPLER (quoted in The Anatomy of Melancholy] 



London 
William Heinemann 




?a 

5114 



All rights reserved 






TO 



MY BROTHER 



FRANK WELLS, 

THIS RENDERING OF HIS IDEA. 



CONTENTS 



BOOK I. THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS. 

PAGE 

I. THE EVE OF THE WAR - I 

II. THE FALLING STAR - 12 

III. ON HORSELL COMMON 1 9 

IV. THE CYLINDER UNSCREWS - 25 

V. THE HEAT-RAY - "31 

VI. THE HEAT-RAY IN THE CHOBHAM ROAD - - 39 

VII. HOW I REACHED HOME - - 44 

VIII. FRIDAY NIGHT - $1 

IX. THE FIGHTING BEGINS - - $6 

X. IN THE STORM - - 67 

XI. AT THE WINDOW - 78 

XII. WHAT I SAW OF THE DESTRUCTION OF WEYBRIDGE 

AND SHEPPERTON - 88 

XIII. HOW I FELL IN WITH THE CURATE - 107 

XIV. IN LONDON - 117 
XV. WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN SURREY - 136 

XVI. THE EXODUS FROM LONDON - 150 

xvn. THE 'THUNDER CHILD' - - . - 172 



viii Contents 

BOOK II. THE EARTH UNDER THE MARTIANS. 

PAGE 

I. UNDER FOOT - 1 88 

II. WHAT WE SAW FROM THE RUINED HOUSE - 2OI 

III. THE DAYS OF IMPRISONMENT - - 217 

IV. THE DEATH OF THE CURATE - 227 
V.' THE STILLNESS - - 235 

VI. THE WORK OF FIFTEEN DAYS - - 240 

VII. THE MAN ON PUTNEY HILL - 246 

VIII. DEAD LONDON - 273 

IX. WRECKAGE - - 288 

X. THE EPILOGUE - - - - - 297 



BOOK I. THE COMING OF THE 
MARTIANS. 

I. 

THE EVE OF THE WAR. 

No one would have believed, in the last years 
of the nineteenth century, that human affairs 
were being watched keenly and closely by 
intelligences greater than man's and yet as 
mortal as his own ; that as men busied them- 
selves about their affairs they were scrutinized 
and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a 
man with a microscope might scrutinize the 
transient creatures that swarm and multiply in 
a drop of water. With infinite complacency 
men went to and fro over this globe about 
J;heir little affairs, serene in their assurance of 
their empire over matter. It is possible that 
the infusoria under the microscope do the 
same. No one gave a thought to the older 
worlds of space as sources of human danger, or 

i 



2 The War of the Worlds 

thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life 
upon them as impossible or improbable. It is 
curious to recall some of the mental habits of 
those departed days. At most, terrestrial men 
fancied there might be other men upon Mars, 
perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to 
welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet, across 
the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds 
as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, 
intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, 
regarded this earth with envious eyes, and 
slowly and surely drew their plans against 
us. And early in the twentieth century came 
the great disillusionment. 

The planet Mars, I scarcely need remind the 
reader, revolves about the sun at a mean dis- 
tance of 140,000,000 miles, and the light and 
heat it receives from the sun is barely half of 
that received by this world. It must be, if the 
nebular hypothesis has any truth, older than 
our world, and long before this earth ceased to 
be molten, life upon its surface must have 
begun its course. The fact that it is scarcely one- 
seventh of the volume of the earth must have 
accelerated its cooling to the temperature at 
which life could begin. It has air and water, 
and all that is necessary for the support of 
animated existence. 



The Eve of the War 3 

Yet so vain is man, and so blinded by his 
vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the 
nineteenth century, expressed any idea that 
intelligent life might have developed there far, 
or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor 
was it generally understood that since Mars is 
older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of 
the superficial area, and remoter from the sun, 
it necessarily follows that it is not only more 
distant from life's beginning but nearer its 
end. 

The secular cooling that must some day over- 
take our planet has already gone far indeed 
with our neighbour. Its physical condition is 
still largely a mystery, but we know now that 
even in its equatorial region the mid-day tem- 
perature barely approaches that of our coldest 
winter. Its air is much more attenuated than 
ours, its oceans have shrunk until they cover 
but a third of its surface, and as its slow seasons 
change huge snowcaps gather and melt about 
either pole, and periodically inundate its tem- 
perate zones. That last stage of exhaustion, 
which to us is still incredibly remote, has become 
a present-day problem for the inhabitants of 
Mars. The immediate pressure of necessity 
has brightened their intellects, enlarged their 
powers, and hardened their hearts. And look- 

I 2 



4 The War of the Worlds 

ing across space, with instruments and intelli- 
gences such as we have scarcely dreamt of, they 
see, at its nearest distance, only 35,000,000 of 
miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, 
our own warmer planet, green with vegetation 
and gray with water, with a cloudy atmosphere 
eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through 
its drifting cloud-wisps of broad stretches of 
populous country and narrow navy -crowded 
seas. 

And we men, the creatures who inhabit this 
earth, must be to them at least as alien and 
lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. 
The intellectual side of man already admits 
that life is an incessant struggle for existence, 
and it would seem that this too is the belief of 
the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone 
in its cooling, and this world is still crowded 
with life, but crowded only with what they 
regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare 
sunward is indeed their only escape from the 
destruction that generation after generation 
creeps upon them. 

And before we judge of them too harshly, 
we must remember what ruthless and utter 
destruction our own species has wrought, not 
only upon animals, such as the vanished 
bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior 



The Eve of the War 5 

races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their 
human likeness, were entirely swept out of 
existence in a war of extermination waged 
by European immigrants, in the space of fifty 
years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to 
complain if the Martians warred in the same 
spirit ? 

The Martians seem to have calculated their 
descent with amazing subtlety their mathe- 
matical learning is evidently far in excess of 
ours and to have carried out their prepara- 
tions with a well-nigh perfect unanimity. Had 
our instruments permitted it, we might have 
seen the gathering trouble far back in the 
nineteenth century. Men like Schiaparelli 
watched the red planet it is odd, by-the-by, 
that for countless centuries Mars has been the 
star of war but failed to interpret the fluctu- 
ating appearances of the markings they mapped 
so well. All that time the Martians must have 
been getting ready. 

During the opposition of 1894 a great light 
was seen on the illuminated part of the disc, 
first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin 
of Nice, and then by other observers. English 
readers heard of it first in the issue of Nature 
dated August 2. I am inclined to think that 
the appearance may have been the casting of 



6 The War of the Worlds 

the huge gun, the vast pit sunk into their planet, 
from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar 
markings, as yet unexplained, were seen near 
the site of that outbreak during the next two 
oppositions. 

The storm burst upon us six years ago now. 
As Mars approached opposition, Lavelle of 
Java set the wires of the astronomical exchange 
palpitating with the amazing intelligence of a 
huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the 
planet. It had occurred towards midnight of 
the 1 2th, and the spectroscope, to which he 
had at once resorted, indicated a mass of 
. flaming gas, chiefly hydrogen, moving with an 
enormous velocity towards this earth. This 
jet of fire had become invisible about a quarter 
past twelve. He compared it to a colossal puff 
of flame, suddenly and violently squirted out of 
the planet, ' as flaming gas rushes out of a 
gun.' 

A singularly appropriate phrase it proved. 
Yet the next day there was nothing of this in 
the papers, except a little note in the Daily 
Telegraph, and the world went in ignorance of 
one of the gravest dangers that ever threatened 
the human race. I might not have heard of the 
eruption at all had I not met Ogilvy, the well- 
known astronomer, at Ottershaw. He was 



immensely excited at the news, and in the ex- 
cess of his feelings invited me up to take a turn 
with him that night in a scrutiny of the red 
planet. 

In spite of all that has happened since, I still 
remember that vigil very distinctly : the black 
and silent observatory, the shadowed lantern 
throwing a feeble glow upon the floor in the 
corner, the steady ticking of the clockwork of 
the telescope, the little slit in the roof an 
oblong profundity with the star dust streaked 
across it. Ogilvy moved about, invisible but 
audible. Looking through the telescope, one 
saw a circle of deep blue, and the little round 
planet swimming in the field. It seemed such 
a little thing, so bright and small and still, 
faintly marked with transverse stripes, and 
slightly flattened from the perfect round. But 
so little it was, so silvery warm, a pin's head of 
light T -It was as if it quivered a little, but 
really this was the telescope vibrating with the 
activity of the clockwork that kept the planet 
in view. 

As I watched, the little star seemed to grow 
larger and smaller, and to advance and recede, 
but that was simply that my eye was tired. 
Forty millions of miles it was from us more 
than 40,000,000 miles of void. Few people 



8 The War of the Worlds 

realize the immensity of vacancy in which the 
dust of the material universe swims. 

Near it in the field, I remember, were three 
little points of light, three telescopic stars 
infinitely remote, and all around it was the un- 
fathomable darkness of empty space. You 
know how that blackness looks on a frosty star- 
light night. In a telescope it seems far pro- 
founder. And invisible to me, because it was 
so remote and small, flying swiftly and steadily 
towards me across that incredible distance, draw- 
ing nearer every minute by so many thousands 
of miles, came the Thing they were sending us, 
the Thing that was to bring so much struggle 
and calamity and death to the earth. I never 
dreamt of it then as I watched ; no one on 
earth dreamt of that unerring missile. 

That night, too, there was another jetting 
out of gas from the distant planet. I saw it. 
A reddish flash at the edge, the slightest pro- 
jection of the outline, just as the chronometer 
struck midnight, and at that I told Ogilvy, and 
he took my place. The night was warm and I 
was thirsty, and I went, stretching my legs 
clumsily, and feeling my way in the darkness, 
to the little table where the siphon stood, while 
Ogilvy exclaimed at the streamer of gas that 
came out towards us. 



The Eve of the War 9 

That night another invisible missile started 
on its way to the earth from Mars, just a second 
or so under twenty-four hours after the first 
one. I remember how I sat on the table there 
in the blackness, with patches of green and 
crimson swimming before my eyes. I wished 
I had a light to smoke by, little suspecting the 
meaning of the minute gleam I had seen, and 
all that it would presently bring me. Ogilvy 
watched till one, and then gave it up, and we 
lit the lantern and walked over to his house. 
Down below in the darkness were Ottershaw 
and Chertsey, and all their hundreds of people, 
sleeping in peace. 

He was full of speculation that night about 
the condition of Mars, and scoffed at the vulgar 
idea of its having inhabitants who were signal- 
ling us. His idea was that meteorites might 
be falling in a heavy shower upon the planet, 
or that a huge volcanic explosion was in pro- 
gress. He pointed out to me how unlikely it 
was that organic evolution had taken the same 
direction in the two adjacent planets. 

' The chances against anything man-like on 
Mars are a million to one,' he said. 

Hundreds of observers saw the flame that 
night and the night after, about midnight, and 
again the night after, and so for ten nights, 



io The War of the Worlds 

a flame each night. Why the shots ceased 
after the tenth no one on earth has attempted 
to exglain. It may be the gases of the 
firing caused the Martians inconvenience. 
Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through 
a powerful telescope on earth as little gray, 
fluctuating patches, spread through the clear- 
ness of the planet's atmosphere, and obscured 
its more familiar features. 

Even the daily papers woke up to the dis- 
turbances at last, and popular notes appeared 
here, there, and everywhere concerning the 
volcanoes upon Mars. The serio-comic peri- 
odical Punch, I remember, made a happy use 
of it in the political cartoon. And, all un- 
suspected, those missiles the Martians had fired 
at us drew earthward, rushing now at a pace 
of many miles a second through the empty gulf 
of space, hour by hour and day by day, nearer 
and nearer. It seems to me now almost in- 
credibly wonderful that, with that swift fate 
hanging over us, men could go about their 
petty concerns as they did. I remember how 
jubilant Markham was at securing a new photo- 
graph of the planet for the illustrated paper he 
edited in those days. People in these latter 
times scarcely realize the abundance and enter- 
prise of our nineteenth-century papers. For 



The Eve of the War 1 1 

my own part, I was much occupied in learning 
to ride the bicycle, and busy upon a series of 
papers discussing the probable developments of 
moral ideas as civilization progressed. 

One night (the first missile then could scarcely 
have been 10,000,000 miles away) I went for a 
walk with my wife. It was starlight, and I 
explained the Signs of the Zodiac to her, and 
pointed out Mars, a bright dot of light creeping 
zenithward, towards which so many telescopes 
were pointed. It was a warm night. Coming 
home, a party of excursionists from Chertsey 
or Isleworth passed us singing and playing 
music. There were lights in the upper 
windows of the houses as the people went 
to bed. From the railway - station in the 
distance came the sound of shunting trains, 
ringing and rumbling, softened almost into 
melody by the distance. My wife pointed out 
to me the brightness of the red, green and 
yellow signal lights, hanging in a framework 
against the sky. It seemed so safe and 
tranquil. 



II. 

THE FALLING STAR. 

THEN came the night of the first falling star. 
It was seen early in the morning rushing over 
Winchester eastward, a line of flame, high in 
the atmosphere. Hundreds must have seen it, 
and taken it for an ordinary falling star. Albin 
described it as leaving a greenish streak behind 
it that glowed for some seconds. Denning, our 
greatest authority on meteorites, stated that the 
height of its first appearance was about ninety 
or one hundred miles. It seemed to him that it 
fell to earth about one hundred miles east of 
him. 

I was at home at that hour and writing in 
my study, and although my French windows 
face towards Ottershaw and the blind was up 
(for I loved in those days to look up at the 
night sky), I saw nothing of it. Yet this 
strangest of all things that ever came to earth 
from outer space must have fallen while I was 
sitting there, visible to me had I only looked 



The Falling Star 13 

up as it passed. Some of those who saw its 
flight say it travelled with a hissing sound. I 
myself heard nothing of that. Many people 
in Berkshire, Surrey, and Middlesex must have 
seen the fall of it, and, at most, have thought 
that another meteorite had descended. No one 
seems to have troubled to look for the fallen 
mass that night. 

But very early in the morning poor Ogilvy, 
who had seen the shooting star, and who was 
persuaded that a meteorite lay somewhere on 
the common between Horsell, Ottershaw and 
Woking, rose early with the idea of finding it. 
Find it he did, soon after dawn, and not far 
from the sand-pits. An enormous hole had 
been made by the impact of the projectile, 
and the sand and gravel had been flung vio- 
lently in every direction over the heath and 
heather, forming heaps visible a mile and 
a half away. The heather was on fire east- 
ward, and a thin blue smoke rose against the 
dawn. 

The Thing itself lay almost entirely buried in 
sand, amidst the scattered splinters of a fir-tree 
it had shivered to fragments in its descent, 
The uncovered part had the appearance of a 
huge cylinder, caked over, and its outline 
softened by a thick, scaly, dun-coloured incrus- 



14 The War of the Worlds 

tation. It had a diameter of about thirty yards. 
He approached the mass, surprised at the size 
and more so at the shape, since most meteorites 
are rounded more or less completely. It was, 
however, still so hot from its flight through the 
air as to forbid his near approach. A stirring 
noise within its cylinder he ascribed to the 
unequal cooling of its surface ; for at that time 
it had not occurred to him that it might be 
hollow. 

He remained standing at the edge of the 
pit that the thing had made for itself, staring 
at its strange appearance, astonished chiefly at 
its unusual shape and colour, and dimly per- 
ceiving even then some evidence of design in 
its arrival. The early morning was wonder- 
fully still, and the sun, just clearing the pine- 
trees towards Weybridge, was already warm. 
He did not remember hearing any birds that 
morning, there was certainly no breeze stirring, 
and the only sounds were the faint movements 
from within the cindery cylinder. He was all 
alone on the common. 

Then suddenly he noticed with a start that 
some of the gray clinker, the ashy incrustation 
that covered the meteorite, was falling off the 
circular edge of the end. It was dropping off 
in flakes and raining down upon the sand. A 



The Falling Star 15 

large piece suddenly came off and fell with a 
sharp noise that brought his heart into his 
mouth. 

For a minute he scarcely realized what this 
meant, and, although the heat was excessive, 
he clambered down into the pit close to the 
bulk to see the thing more clearly. He fancied 
even then that the cooling of the body might 
account for this, but what disturbed that idea 
was the fact that the ash was falling only from 
the end of the cylinder. 

And then he perceived that, very slowly, the 
circular top of the cylinder was rotating on its 
body. It was such a gradual movement that 
he discovered it only through noticing that a 
black mark that had been near him five minutes 
ago was now at the other side of the circum- 
ference. Even then he scarcely understood 
what this indicated, until he heard a muffled 
grating sound and saw the black mark jerk 
forward an inch or so. Then the thing came 
upon him in a flash. The cylinder was arti- 
ficial hollow with an end that screwed out ! 
Something within the cylinder was unscrewing 
the top ! 

1 Good heavens !' said Ogilvy. ' There's a 
man in it men in it ! Half roasted to death ! 
Tryingjto^escape !' 



1 6 The War of the Worlds 

At once, with a quick mental leap, he linked 
the thing with the flash upon Mars. 

The thought of the confined creature was so 
dreadful to him that he forgot the heat, and 
went forward to the cylinder to help turn. But 
luckily the dull radiation arrested him before he 
could burn his hands on the still glowing metal. 
At that he stood irresolute for a moment, then 
turned, scrambled out of the pit, and set off 
running wildly into Woking. The time then 
must have been somewhere about six o'clock. 
He met a waggoner and tried to make him 
understand, but the tale he told, and his appear- 
ance, were so wild his hat had fallen off in 
the pit that the man simply drove on. He 
was equally unsuccessful with the potman who 
was just unlocking the doors of the public- 
house by Horsell Bridge. The fellow thought 
he was a lunatic at large, and made an unsuc- 
cessful attempt to shut him into the tap-room. 
That sobered him a little, and when he saw 
Henderson, the London journalist, in his 
garden, he called over the palings and made 
himself understood. 

' Henderson,' he called, ' you saw that shoot- 
ing star last night ?' 

' Well ?' said Henderson. 

' It's out on Horsell Common now.' 



The Falling Star 17 

' Good Lord !' said Henderson*. ' Fallen 
meteorite ! That's good.' 

' But it's something more than a meteorite. 
It's a cylinder an artificial cylinder, man ! And 
there's something inside.' 

Henderson stood up with his spade in his 
hand. 

'What's that?' he said. He is deaf in one 
ear. 

Ogilvy told him all that he had seen. Hen- 
derson was a minute or so taking it in. Then 
he dropped his spade, snatched at his jacket, 
and came out into the road. The two men 
hurried back at once to the common, and found 
the cylinder still lying in the same position. 
But now the sounds inside had ceased, and a 
thin circle of bright metal showed between the 
top and the body of the cylinder. Air was 
either entering or escaping at the rim with a 
thin, sizzling sound. 

They listened, rapped on the scale with a 
stick, and, meeting with no response, they 
both concluded the man or men inside must 
r 1 be insensible or dead. 

Of course the two were quite unable to do 
anything. They shouted consolation and pro- 
mises, and went off back to the town again to 
get help. One can imagine them, covered with 

2 



1 8 The War of the Worlds 

sand, excited and disordered, running up the 
little street in the bright sunlight, just as the 
shop folks were taking down their shutters and 
people were opening their bedroom windows. 
Henderson went into the railway - station at 
once, in order to telegraph the news to London. 
The newspaper articles had prepared men's 
minds for the reception of the idea. 

By eight o'clock a number of boys and un- 
employed men had already started for the 
common to see the 'dead men from Mars.' 
That was the form the story took. I heard of 
it first from my newspaper boy, about a quarter 
to nine, when I went out to get my Daily 
Chronicle. I was naturally startled, and lost 
no time in going out and across the Ottershaw 
bridge to the sand-pits. 



III. 

ON HORSELL COMMON. 

I FOUND a little crowd of perhaps twenty people 
surrounding the huge hole in which the cylinder 
lay. I have already described the appearance 
of that colossal bulk, imbedded in the ground. 
The turf and gravel about it seemed charred as 
if by a sudden explosion. No doubt its impact 
had caused a flash of fire. Henderson and 
Ogilvy were not there. I think they perceived 
that nothing was to be done for the present, 
and had gone away to breakfast at Henderson's 
house. 

There were four or five boys sitting on the 
edge of the pit, with their feet dangling, and 
amusing themselves until I stopped them by 
throwing stones at the giant mass. After I 
-/had spoken to them about it, they began play- 
ing at ' touch ' in and out of the group of by- 
standers. 

Among these were a couple of cyclists, a 
jobbing gardener I employed sometimes, a girl 

2 2 



20 The War of the Worlds 

carrying a baby, Gregg the butcher and his 
little boy, and two or three loafers and golf 
caddies who were accustomed to hang about 
the railway - station. There was very little 
talking. Few of the common people in Eng- 
land had anything but the vaguest astronomical 
ideas in those days. Most of them were staring 
quietly at the big table-like end of the cylinder, 
which was still as Ogilvy and Henderson had 
left it. I fancy the popular expectation of a 
heap of charred corpses was disappointed at 
this inanimate bulk. Some went away while I 
was there, and other people came. I clambered 
into the pit and fancied I heard a faint move- 
ment under my feet. The top had certainly 
ceased to rotate. 

It was only when I got thus close to it that 
the strangeness of this object was at all evident 
to me. At the first glance it was really no 
more exciting than an overturned carriage or a 
tree blown across the road. Not so much so, 
indeed. It looked like a rusty gas-float half 
buried, more than anything else in the world. 
It required a certain amount of scientific educa- 
tion to perceive that the gray scale of the thing 
was no common oxide, that the yellowish-white 
metal that gleamed in the crack between the 
lid and the cylinder had an unfamiliar hue. 



On Horsell Common 21 

' Extra-terrestrial ' had no meaning for most of 
the onlookers. 

At that time it was quite clear in my own 
mind that the Thing had come from the planet 
Mars, but I judged it improbable that it con- 
tained any living creature. I thought the un- 
screwing might be automatic. In spite of 
Ogilvy, I still believed that there were men in 
Mars. My mind ran fancifully on the possi- 
bilities of its containing manuscript, on the 
difficulties in translation that might arise, 
whether we should find coins and models in it, 
and so forth. Yet it was a little too large for 
assurance on this idea. I felt an impatience to 
see it opened. About eleven, as nothing 
seemed happening, I walked back, full of such 
thoughts, to my home in Maybury. But I 
found it difficult to get to work upon my 
abstract investigations. 

In the afternoon the appearance of the 
common had altered very much. The early 
editions of the evening papers had startled 
London with enormous headlines : 

' A MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM MARS/ 
' REMARKABLE STORY FROM WOKING,' 

and so forth. In addition, Ogilvy's wire to the 



22 The War of the Worlds 

Astronomical Exchange had roused every 
observatory in the three kingdoms. 

There were half a dozen flys or more from 
the Woking station standing in the road by the 
sand-pits, a basket chaise from Chobham, and a 
rather lordly carriage. Besides that, there was 
quite a heap of bicycles. In addition, a large 
number of people must have walked, in spite of 
the heat of the day, from Woking and Chertsey, 
so that there was altogether quite a consider- 
able crowd one or two gaily dressed ladies 
among the others. 

It was glaringly hot, not a cloud in the sky, 
nor a breath of wind, and the only shadow was 
that of the few scattered pine-trees. The burn- 
ing heather had been extinguished, but the 
level ground towards Ottershaw was blackened 
as far as one could see, and still giving off 
vertical streamers of smoke. An enterprising 
sweetstuff dealer in the Chobham Road had 
sent up his son with a barrow-load of green 
apples and ginger-beer. 

Going to the edge of the pit, I found it 
occupied by a group of about half a dozen men 
Henderson, Ogilvy, and a tall fair-haired 
man that I afterwards learnt was Stent, the 
Astronomer Royal, with several workmen 
wielding spades and pickaxes. Stent was 



On Horsell Common 23 

giving directions in a clear, high - pitched 
voice. He was standing on the cylinder, 
which was now evidently much cooler ; his 
face was crimson and streaming with perspira- 
tion, and something seemed to have irritated 
him. 

A large portion of the cylinder had been un- 
covered, though its lower end was still em- 
bedded. As soon as Ogilvy saw me among 
the staring crowd on the edge of the pit, he 
called to me to come down, and asked me if I 
would mind going over to see Lord Hilton, the 
lord of the manor. 

The growing crowd, he said, was becoming 
a serious impediment to their excavations, 
especially the boys. They wanted a light 
railing put up, and help to keep the people 
back. He told me that a faint stirring was 
occasionally still audible within the case, but 
that the workmen had failed to unscrew the 
top, as it afforded no grip to them. The case 
appeared to be enormously thick, and it was 
possible that the faint sounds we heard repre- 
sented a noisy tumult in the interior. 

I was very glad to do as he asked, and so 
become one of the privileged spectators within 
the contemplated enclosure. I failed to find 
Lord Hilton at his house, but I was told he 



24 The War of the Worlds 

was expected from London by the six o'clock 
train from Waterloo ; and as it was then about 
a quarter past five, I went home, had some 
tea, and walked up to the station to waylay 
him. 



IV. 



THE CYLINDER UNSCREWS. 

WHEN I returned to the common the sun was 
setting. Scattered groups were hurrying from 
the direction of Woking, and one or two 
persons were returning. The crowd about the 
pit had increased, and stood out black against 
the lemon-yellow of the sky a couple of hun- 
dred people, perhaps. There were a number 
of voices raised, and some sort of struggle 
appeared to be going on about the pit. Strange 
imaginings passed through my mind. As I 
drew nearer I heard Stent's voice : 

' Keep back ! Keep back !' 

A boy came running towards me. 

' It's a-movin',' he said to me as he passed 
' a-screwin' and a-screwin' out. I don't like it. 
I'm a-goin' 'ome, I am.' 

I went on to the crowd. There were really, 
I should think, two or three hundred people 
elbowing and jostling one another, the one or two 
ladies there being by no means the least active. 



26 The War of the Worlds 

' He's fallen in the pit !' cried someone. 

' Keep back !' said several. 

The crowd swayed a little, and I elbowed my 
way through. Everyone seemed greatly ex- 
cited. I heard a peculiar humming sound from 
the pit. 

4 1 say !' said Ogilvy, 4 help keep these idiots 
back. We don't know what's in the confounded 
thing, you know !' 

I saw a young man, a shop assistant in 
Woking I believe he was, standing on the 
cylinder and trying to scramble out of the hole 
again. The crowd had pushed him in. 

The end of the cylinder was being screwed 
out from within. Nearly two feet of shining 
screw projected. Somebody blundered against 
me, and I narrowly missed being pitched on 
to the top of the screw. I turned, and as I did 
so the screw must have come out, and the lid 
of the cylinder fell upon the gravel with a ring- 
ing concussion. I stuck my elbow into the 
person behind me, and turned my head towards 
the Thing again. For a moment that circular 
cavity seemed perfectly black. I had the sun- 
set in my eyes. 

I think everyone expected to see a man 
emerge possibly something a little unlike us 
terrestrial men, but in all essentials a man. I 



The Cylinder unscrews 27 

know I did. But, looking, I presently saw 
something stirring within the shadow grayish 
billowy movements, one above another, and 
then two luminous discs like eyes. Then 
something resembling a little gray snake, about 
the thickness of a walking-stick, coiled up out 
of the writhing middle, and wriggled in the air 
towards me and then another. 

A sudden chill came over me. There was a 
loud shriek from a woman behind. I half 
turned, keeping my eyes fixed upon the cylin- 
der still, from which other tentacles were now 
projecting, and began pushing my way back 
from the edge of the pit. I saw astonishment 
giving place to horror on the faces of the 
people about me. I heard inarticulate exclama- 
tions on all sides. There was a general move- 
ment backward. I saw the shopman struggling 
still on the edge of the pit. I found myself 
alone, and saw the people on the other side of 
the pit running off, Stent among them. I 
looked again at the cylinder, and ungovern- 
able terror gripped me. I stood petrified and 
staring. 

A big grayish, rounded bulk, the size, per- 
haps, of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully 
out of the cylinder. As it bulged up and 
caught the light, it glistened like wet leather. 



28 The War of the Worlds 

Two large dark-coloured eyes were regarding 
me steadfastly. It was rounded, and had, one 
might say, a face. There was a mouth under 
the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered 
and panted, and dropped saliva. The body 
heaved and pulsated convulsively. A lank 
tentacular appendage gripped the edge of the 
cylinder, another swayed in the air. 

Those who have never seen a living Martian 
can scarcely imagine the strange horror of their 
appearance. The peculiar V-shaped mouth 
with its pointed upper lip, the absence of brow 
ridges, the absence of a chin beneath the 
wedge-like lower lip, the incessant quivering of 
this mouth, the Gorgon groups of tentacles, the 
tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange 
atmosphere, the evident heaviness and painful- 
ness of movement, due to the greater gravita- 
tional energy of the earth above all, the 
extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes 
culminated in an effect akin to nausea. There 
was something fungoid in the oily brown skin, 
something in the clumsy deliberation of their 
tedious movements unspeakably terrible. Even 
at this first encounter, this first glimpse, I was 
overcome with disgust and dread. 

Suddenly the monster vanished. It had 
toppled over the brim of the cylinder and fallen 



The Cylinder unscrews 29 

into the pit, with a thud like the fall of a great 
mass of leather. I heard it give a peculiar thick 
cry, and forthwith another of these creatures 
appeared darkly in the deep shadow of the 
aperture. 

At that my rigour of terror passed away. I 
turned and, running madly, made for the first 
group of trees, perhaps a hundred yards away ; 
but I ran slantingly and stumbling, for I could 
not avert my face from these things. 

There, among some young pine-trees and 
furze bushes, I stopped, panting, and waited 
further developments. The common round the 
sand-pits was dotted with people, standing, like 
myself, in a half-fascinated terror, staring at 
these creatures, or, rather, at the heaped gravel 
at the edge of the pit in which they lay. And 
then, with a renewed horror, I saw a round, 
black object bobbing up and down on the edge 
of the pit. It was the head of the shopman 
who had fallen in, but showing as a little black 
object against the hot western sky. Now he 
got his shoulder and knee up, and again he 
seemed to slip back until only his head was 
visible. Suddenly he vanished, and I could 
have fancied a faint shriek had reached me. I 
had a momentary impulse to go back and help 
him that my fears overruled. 



30 The War of the Worlds 

Everything was then quite invisible, hidden 
by the deep pit and the heap of sand that the 
fall of the cylinder had made. Anyone coming 
along the road from Chobham or Woking 
would have been amazed at the sight a dwind- 
ling multitude of perhaps a hundred people or 
more standing in a great irregular circle, in 
ditches, behind bushes, behind gates and 
hedges, saying little to one another, and that in 
short, excited shouts, and staring, staring hard 
at a few heaps of sand. The barrow of ginger- 
beer stood, a queer derelict, black against the 
burning sky, and in the sand-pits was a row of 
deserted vehicles with their horses feeding out 
of nose-bags or pawing the ground. 



33 

"dence. 

in- 

n, 

V. 

THE HEAT-RAY. 

AFTER the glimpse I had had of the Martians 
emerging from the cylinder in which they had 
come to the earth from their planet, a kind of 
fascination paralyzed my actions. I remained 
standing knee-deep in the heather, staring at 
the mound that hid them. I was a battle- 
ground of fear and curiosity. 

I did not dare to go back toward the pit, but 
I felt a passionate longing to peer into it. I 
began walking, therefore, in a big curve, seek- 
ing some point of vantage, and continually look- 
ing at the sand-heaps that hid these new-comers 
to our earth. Once a leash of thin black whips, 
like the arms of an octopus, flashed across the 
sunset and was immediately withdrawn, and 
afterwards a thin rod rose up, joint by joint, 
bearing at its apex a circular disc that spun with a 
wobbling motion. What could be going on there? 

Most of the spectators had gathered in one 
or two groups one a little crowd towards 



30 The War of the Worlds 

Evetg, the other a knot of people in the 
by tH-tion of Chobham. Evidently they shared 
fal/ mental conflict. There were few near me. 
One man I approached he was, I perceived, 
a neighbour of mine, though I did not know 
his name and accosted. But it was scarcely 
a time for articulate conversation. 

' What ugly brutes f he said. ' Good God ! 
what ugly brutes !' He repeated this over and 
over again. 

' Did you see a man in the pit ?' I said ; but 
he made me no answer to that. We became 
silent, and stood watching for a time side by 
side, deriving, I fancy, a certain comfort in one 
another's company. Then I shifted my posi- 
tion to a little knoll that gave me the advantage 
of a yard or more of elevation, and when I 
looked for him presently he was walking to- 
wards Woking. 

The sunset faded to twilight before anything 
further happened. The crowd far away on the 
left, towards Woking, seemed to grow, and I 
heard now a faint murmur from it. The little 
knot of people towards Chobham dispersed. 
There was scarcely an intimation of movement 
from the pit. 

It was this, as much as anything, that gave 
people courage, and I suppose the new arrivals 



The Heat- Ray 33 

from Woking also helped to restore confidence. 
At any rate, as the dusk came on, a slow, in- 
termittent movement upon the sand-pits began, 
a movement that seemed to gather force as the 
stillness of the evening about the cylinder re- 
mained unbroken. Vertical black figures in 
twos and threes would advance, stop, watch, and 
advance again, spreading out as they did so in a 
thin irregular crescent that promised to enclose 
the pit in its attenuated horns. I, too, on my 
side began to move towards the pit. 

Then I saw some cabmen and others had 
walked boldly into the sand-pits, and heard the 
clatter of hoofs and the gride of wheels. I saw 
a lad trundling off the barrow of apples. And 
then, within thirty yards of the pit, advancing 
from the direction of Horsell, I noted a little 
black knot of men, the foremost of whom was 
waving a white flag. 

This was the Deputation. There had been 
a hasty consultation, and, since the Martians 
were evidently, in spite of their repulsive 
forms, intelligent creatures, it had been resolved 
' to show them, by approaching them with signals, 
that we, too, were intelligent. 

Flutter, flutter, went the flag, first to the 
right, then to the left. It was too far for me to 
recognise anyone there, but afterwards I learnt 

3 



34 The War of the Worlds 

that Ogilvy, Stent, and Henderson were with 
others in this attempt at communication. This 
little group had in its advance dragged inward, 
so to speak, the circumference of the now 
almost complete circle of people, and a number 
of dim black figures followed it at discreet 
distances. 

Suddenly there was a flash of light, and a 
quantity of luminous greenish smoke came out 
of the pit in three distinct puffs, which drove 
up, one after the other, straight into the still air. 

This smoke (or flame, perhaps, would be the 
better word for it) was so bright that the deep 
blue sky overhead, and the hazy stretches of 
brown common towards Chertsey, set with black 
pine-trees, seemed to darken abruptly as these 
puffs arose, and to remain the darker after their 
dispersal. At the same time a faint hissing 
sound became audible. 

Beyond the pit stood the little wedge of 
people, with the white flag at its apex, arrested 
by these phenomena, a little knot of small 
vertical black shapes upon the black ground. 
As the green smoke rose, their faces flashed 
out pallid green, and faded again as it vanished. 

Then slowly the hissing passed into a hum- 
ming, into a long, loud, droning noise. Slowly 
a humped shape rose out of the pit, and the 



The Heat-Ray 35 

ghost of a beam of light seemed to flicker out 
from it. 

Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright 
glare leaping from one to another, sprang from 
the scattered group of men. It was as if 
some invisible jet impinged upon them and 
flashed into white flame. It was as if each 
man were suddenly and momentarily turned 
to fire. , 

Then, oy the light of their own destruction, I 
saw them staggering and falling, and their sup- 
porters turning to run. 

I stood staring, not as yet realizing that this 
was death leaping from man to man in that 
little distant crowd. All I felt was that it was 
something strange. An almost noiseless and 
blinding flash of light, and a man fell headlong 
and lay still, and as the unseen shaft of heat 
passed over them, pine-trees burst into fire, 
and every dry furze-bush became with one 
dull thud a mass of flames. And far away 
towards Knaphill I saw the flashes of trees 
and hedges and wooden buildings suddenly set 
alight. 

It was sweeping round swiftly and steadily, 
this flaming death, this invisible, inevitable 
sword of heat. I perceived it coming towards 
me by the flashing bushes it touched, and was 

32 



36 The War of the Worlds 

too astounded and stupefied to stir. I heard 
the crackle of fire in the sand-pits and the 
sudden squeal of a horse that was as suddenly 
stilled. Then it was as if an invisible yet 
intensely heated finger was drawn through the 
heather between me and the Martians, and all 
along a curving line beyond the sand-pits the 
dark ground smoked and crackled. Something 
fell with a crash, far away to the left where 
the road from Woking Station opens out on 
the common. Forthwith the hissing and hum- 
ming ceased, and the black, dome-like object 
sank slowly out of sight into the pit. 

All this had happened with such swiftness 
that I had stood motionless, dumfounded and 
dazzled by the flashes of light. Had that 
death swept through a full circle, it must 
inevitably have slain me in my surprise. But 
it passed and spared me, and left the night 
about me suddenly dark and unfamiliar. 

The undulating common seemed now dark 
almost to blackness, except where its roadways 
lay gray and pale under the deep-blue sky 
of the early night. It was dark, and suddenly 
void of men. Overhead the stars were muster- 
ing, and in the west the sky was still a pale, 
bright, almost greenish blue. The tops of the 
pine-trees and the roofs of Horsell came out 



The Heat-Ray 37 

sharp and black against the western after-glow. 
The Martians and their appliances were alto- 
gether invisible, save for that thin mast upon 
which their restless mirror wobbled. Patches 
of bush and isolated trees here and there 
smoked and glowed still, and the houses towards 
Woking Station were sending up spires of flame 
into the stillness of the evening air. 

Nothing was changed save for that and a 
terrible astonishment. The little group of black 
specks with the flag of white had been swept 
out of existence, and the stillness of the even- 
ing, so it seemed to me, had scarcely been 
broken. 

It came to me that I was upon this dark 
common, helpless, unprotected and alone. Sud- 
denly like a thing falling upon me from without 
came Fear. 

With an effort I turned and began a stumb- 
ling run through the heather. 

The fear I felt was no rational fear but a 
panic terror, not only of the Martians, but of 
the dusk and stillness all about me. Such an 
extraordinary effect in unmanning me it had 
that I ran weeping silently as a child might 
do. Once I had turned, I did not dare to 
look back. 

I remember I felt an extraordinary per- 



3 8 The War of the^Worlds 

suasion that I was being played with, that 
presently, when I was upon the very verge ot 
safety, this mysterious death as swift as the 
passage of light would leap after me from the 
pit about the cylinder, and strike me down. 



VI. 

THE HEAT-RAY IN THE CHOBHAM ROAD. 

IT is still a matter of wonder how the Martians 
are able to slay men so swiftly and so silently. 
Many think that in some way they are able to 
generate an intense heat in a chamber of prac- 
tically absolute non-conductivity. This intense 
heat they project in a parallel beam against 
any object they choose by means of a polished 
parabolic mirror of unknown composition- 
much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse 
projects a beam of light. But no one has 
absolutely proved these details. However it is 
done, it is certain that a beam of heat is the 
essence of the matter. Heat, and invisible, 
instead of visible light. Whatever is combus- 
tible flashes into flame at its touch, lead runs 
like water, it softens iron, cracks and melts 
glass, and when it falls upon water inconti- 
nently that explodes into steam. 

That night nearly forty people lay under the 
starlight about the pit, charred and distorted 



40 The War of the Worlds 

beyond recognition, and all night long the 
common from Horsell to Maybury was 
deserted, and brightly ablaze. 

The news of the massacre probably reached 
Chobham, Woking, and Ottershaw about the 
same time. In Woking the shops had closed 
when the tragedy happened, and a number of 
people, shop-people and so forth, attracted by 
the stories they had heard, were walking over 
Horsell Bridge and along the road between the 
hedges that run out at last upon the common. 
You may imagine the young people brushed 
up after the labours of the day, and making this 
novelty, as they would make any novelty, the 
excuse for walking together and enjoying a trivial 
flirtation. You may figure to yourself the hum 
of voices along the road in the gloaming. . . . 

As yet, of course, few people in Woking even 
knew that the cylinder had opened, though 
poor Henderson had sent a messenger on a 
bicycle to the post-office with a special wire to 
an evening paper. 

As these folks came out by twos and threes 
upon the open, they found little knots of people 
talking excitedly, and peering at the spinning 
mirror over the sand-pits, and the new-comers 
were, no doubt, soon infected by the excitement 
of the occasion. 



The Heat- Ray in the Chobham Road 41 

By half-past eight, when the Deputation was 
destroyed, there may have been a crowd of 
300 people or more at this place, besides those 
who had left the road to approach the Martians 
nearer. There were three policemen, too, one 
of whom was mounted, doing their best, under 
instructions from Stent, to keep the people back 
and deter them from approaching the cylinder. 
There was some booing from those more 
thoughtless and excitable souls to whom a crowd 
is always an occasion for noise and horse-play. 

Stent and Ogilvy, anticipating some possi- 
bilities of a collision, had telegraphed from 
Horsell to the barracks as soon as the Martians 
emerged, for the help of a company of soldiers 
to protect these strange creatures from violence. 
After that they returned to lead that ill-fated 
advance. The description of their death, as it 
was seen by the crowd, tallies very closely 
with my own impressions : the three puffs of 
green smoke, the deep humming note, and the 
flashes of flame. 

But that crowd of people had a far narrower 
escape than mine. Only the fact that a hum- 
mock of heathery sand intercepted the lower 
part of the Heat-Ray saved them. Had the 
elevation of the parabolic mirror been a few 
yards higher, none could have lived to tell the 



42 The War of the Worlds 

tale. They saw the flashes, and the men 
falling, and an invisible hand, as it were, lit the 
bushes as it hurried towards them through the 
twilight. Then, with a whistling note that rose 
above the droning of the pit, the beam swung 
close over their heads, lighting the tops of the 
beech-trees that line the road, and splitting the 
bricks, smashing the windows, firing the window- 
frames, and bringing down in crumbling ruin 
a portion of the gable of the house nearest the 
corner. 

In the sudden thud, hiss and glare of the 
igniting trees, the panic-stricken crowd seems to 
have swayed hesitatingly for some moments. 

Sparks and burning twigs began to fall into 
the road, and single leaves like puffs of flame. 
Hats and dresses caught fire. Then came a 
crying from the common. 

There were shrieks and shouts, and suddenly 
a mounted policeman came galloping through 
the confusion with his hands clasped over his 
head, screaming. 

' They're coming !' a woman shrieked, and 
incontinently everyone was turning and pushing 
at those behind, in order to clear their way to 
Woking again. They must have bolted as 
blindly as a flock of sheep. Where the road 
grows narrow and black between the high 



The Heat- Ray in the Chobham Road 43 

banks the crowd jammed and a desperate 
struggle occurred. All that crowd did not 
escape ; three persons at least, two women and 
a little boy, were crushed and trampled there 
and left to die amidst the terror and the 
darkness. 



VII. 

HOW I REACHED HOME. 

FOR my own part, I remember nothing of my 
flight except the stress of blundering against 
trees and stumbling through the heather. All 
about me gathered the invisible terrors of the 
Martians ; that pitiless sword of heat seemed 
whirling to and fro, flourishing overhead before 
it descended and smote me out of life. I came 
into the road between the cross-roads and 
Horsell, and ran along this to the cross-roads. 

At last I could go no further ; I was exhausted 
with the violence of my emotion and of my 
flight, and I staggered and fell by the way- 
side. That was near the bridge that crosses 
the canal by the gasworks. I fell and lay 
still. 

I must have remained there some time. 

I sat up, strangely perplexed. For a moment, 
perhaps, I could not clearly understand how I 
came there. My terror had fallen from me like 
a garment. My hat had gone, and my collar 



How I reached Home 45 

had burst away from its stud. A few minutes 
before there had only been three real things 
before me the immensity of the night and 
space and nature, my own feebleness and 
anguish, and the near approach of death. Now 
it was as if something turned over, and the point 
of view altered abruptly. There was no sensible 
transition from one state of mind to the other. 
I was immediately the self of every day again, 
a decent ordinary citizen. The silent common, 
the impulse of my flight, the starting flames, 
were as if it were a dream. I asked myself had 
these latter things indeed happened. I could 
not credit it. 

1 rose and walked unsteadily up the steep 
incline of the bridge. My mind was blank 
wonder. My muscles and nerves seemed drained 
of their strength. I dare say I staggered 
drunkenly. A head rose over the arch, and the 
figure of a workman carrying a basket appeared. 
Beside him ran a little boy. He passed me, 
wishing me good-night. I was minded to 
speak to him, and did not. I answered his 
greeting with a meaningless mumble and went 
on over the bridge. 

Over the May bury arch a train, a billowing 
tumult of white, firelit smoke, and a long cater- 
pillar of lighted windows, went flying south : 



46 The War of the Worlds 

clatter, clatter, clap, rap, and it had gone. A 
dim group of people talked in the gate of one 
of the houses in the pretty little row of gables 
that was called Oriental Terrace. It was all 
so real and so familiar. And that behind me ! 
It was frantic, fantastic ! Such things, I told 
myself, could not be. 

Perhaps I am a man of exceptional moods. 
I do not know how far my experience is 
common. At times I suffer from the strangest 
sense of detachment from myself and the 
world about me ; I seem to watch it all from 
the outside, from somewhere inconceivably re- 
mote, out of time, out of space, out of the 
stress and tragedy of it all. This feeling was 
very strong upon me that night. Here was 
another side to my dream. 

But the trouble was the blank incongruity 
of this serenity and the swift death flying 
yonder, not two miles away. There was a 
noise of business from the gasworks, and the 
electric lamps were all alight. I stopped at the 
group of people. 

' What news from the common ?' said I. 

There were two men and a woman at the gate. 

' Eh ?' said one of the men, turning. 

' What news from the common ?' I said. 

* Ain't yer just been there ?' asked the men. 



How I reached Home 47 

1 People seem fair silly about the common,' 
said the woman over the gate. ' What's it all 
abart ?' 

' Haven't you heard of the men from Mars ?' 
said I. 'The creatures from Mars ?' 

' Quite enough,' said the woman over the 
gate. ' Thenks ;' and all three of them laughed. 

I felt foolish and angry. I tried and found 
I could not tell them what I had seen. They 
laughed again at my broken sentences. 

' You'll hear more yet/ I said, and went on 
to my home. 

I startled my wife at the doorway, so hag- 
gard was I. I went into the dining-room, sat 
down, drank some wine, and so soon as I could 
collect myself sufficiently told her the things 
I had seen. The dinner, which was a cold 
one, had already been served, and remained 
neglected on the table while I told my 
story. 

' There is one thing,' I said to allay the 
fears I had aroused. 'They are the most 
sluggish things I ever saw crawl. They may 
-"keep the pit and kill people who come near 
them, but they cannot get out of it. ... But 
the horror of them !' 

' Don't, dear!' said my wife, knitting her 
brows and putting her hand on mine. 



48 The War of the Worlds 

' Poor Ogilvy !' I said. ' To think he may 
be lying dead there !' 

My wife at least did not find my experience 
incredible. When I saw how deadly white her 
face was, I ceased abruptly. 

' They may come here,' she said again and 
again. 

I pressed her to take wine, and tried to re- 
assure her. 

' They can scarcely move,' I said. 

I began to comfort her and myself by repeat- 
ing all that Ogilvy had told me of the impos- 
sibility of the Martians establishing themselves 
on the earth. In particular I laid stress on the 
gravitational difficulty. On the surface of the 
earth the force of gravity is three times what it 
is on the surface of Mars. A Martian, therefore, 
would weigh three times more than on Mars, 
albeit his muscular strength would be the same. 
His own body would be a cope of lead to him, 
therefore. That indeed was the general opinion. 
Both the Times and the Daily Telegraph, for 
instance, insisted on it the next morning, and 
both overlooked, just as I did, two obvious 
modifying influences. 

The atmosphere of the earth, we now know, 
contains far more oxygen or far less argon 
(whichever way one likes to put it) than does 



How I reached Home 49 

Mars'. The invigorating influences of this ex- 
cess of oxygen upon the Martians indisputably 
did much to counterbalance the increased 
weight of their bodies. And, in the second 
place, we all overlooked the fact that such 
mechanical intelligence as the Martian pos- 
sessed was quite able to dispense with muscular 
exertion at a pinch. 

But I did not consider these points at the 
time, and so my reasoning was dead against the 
chances of the invaders. With wine and food, 
the confidence of my own table, and the 
necessity of reassuring my wife, I grew, by 
insensible degrees, courageous and secure. 

' They have done a foolish thing,' said I, 
fingering my wineglass. ' They are dangerous, 
because no doubt they are mad with terror. 
Perhaps they expected to find no living things 
- certainly no intelligent living things. A 
shell in the pit,' said I, 'if the worst comes 
to the worst, will kill them all.' 

The intense excitement of the events had no 
doubt left my perceptive powers in a state of 
'-erethism. I remember that dinner-table with 
extraordinary vividness even now. My dear 
wife's sweet, anxious face peering at me from 
under the pink lamp-shade, the white cloth with 
its silver and glass table furniture for in those 

4 



50 The War of the Worlds 

days even philosophical writers had many little 
luxuries the crimson-purple wine in my glass, 
are photographically distinct. At the end of it 
I sat, tempering nuts with a cigarette, regret- 
ting Ogilvy's rashness, and denouncing the 
short-sighted timidity of the Martians. 

So some respectable dodo in the Mauritius 
might have lorded it in his nest, and discussed 
the arrival of that shipful of pitiless sailors in 
want of animal food. ' We will peck them to 
death to-morrow, my dear.' 

I did not know it, but that was the last 
civilized dinner I was to eat for very many 
strange and terrible days. 



VIII. 

FRIDAY NIGHT. 

THE most extraordinary thing to my mind, of 
all the strange and wonderful things that 
happened upon that Friday, was the dovetail- 
ing of the commonplace habits of our social 
order with the first beginnings of the series of 
events that was to topple that social order 
headlong. If on Friday night you had taken 
a pair of compasses and drawn a circle with a 
radius of five miles round the Woking sand- 
pits, I doubt if you would have had one human 
being outside it, unless it was some relation of 
Stent or of the three or four cyclists or London 
people who lay dead on the common, whose 
emotions or habits were at all affected by the 
new-comers. Many people had heard of the 
cylinder, of course, and talked about it in their 
leisure, but it certainly did not make the sensa- 
tion an ultimatum to Germany would have 
done. 

In London that night poor Henderson's 

42 



52 The War of the Worlds 

telegram describing the gradual unscrewing of 
the shot was judged to be a canard, and his 
evening paper, after wiring for authentication 
from him and receiving no reply the man was 
killed decided not to print a special edition. 

Within the five-mile circle even the great 
majority of people were inert. I have already 
described the behaviour of the men and women 
to whom I spoke. All over the district people 
were dining and supping ; working-men were 
gardening after the labours of the day, children 
were being put to bed, young people were 
wandering through the lanes love-making, 
students sat over their books. 

Maybe there was a murmur in the village 
streets, a novel and dominant topic in the 
public-houses, and here and there a messenger, 
or even an eye-witness of the later occurrences, 
caused a whirl of excitement, a shouting and a 
running to and fro ; but for the most part the 
daily routine of working, eating, drinking, 
sleeping, went on as it had done for countless 
years as though no planet Mars existed in the 
sky. Even at Woking Station and Horsell 
and Chobham that was the case. 

In Woking Junction, until a late hour, trains 
were stopping and going on, others were shunt- 
ing on the sidings, passengers were alighting 



Friday Night 53 

and waiting, and everything was proceeding in 
the most ordinary way. A boy from town, 
trenching on Smith's monopoly, was selling 
papers with the afternoon's news. The ring- 
ing and impact of trucks, the sharp whistle of 
the engines from the junction, mingled with 
his shouts of ' Men from Mars !' Excited 
men came into the station with incredible 
tidings about nine o'clock, and caused no more 
disturbance than drunkards might have done. 
People rattling Londonwards peered into the 
darkness outside the carriage windows and saw 
only a rare, flickering, vanishing spark dance 
up from the direction of Horsell, a red glow 
and a thin veil of smoke driving across the 
stars, and thought that nothing more serious 
than a heath fire was happening. It was only 
round the edge of the common that any dis- 
turbance was perceptible. There were half a 
dozen villas burning on the Woking border. 
There were lights in all the houses on the 
common side of the three villages, and the 
people there kept awake till dawn. 

A curious crowd lingered restlessly, people 
coming and going but the crowd remaining, 
both on the Chobham and Horsell bridges. 
One or two adventurous, souls, it was afterwards 
found, went into the darkness and crawled quite 



54 The War of the Worlds 

near the Martians ; but they never returned, for 
now and again a light-ray, like the beam of a 
warship's searchlight, swept the common, and 
the Heat-Ray was ready to follow. Save for 
such, that big area of common was silent and 
desolate, and the charred bodies lay about on it 
all night under the stars, and all the next day. 
A noise of hammering from the pit was heard 
by many people. 

So you have the state of things on Friday 
night. In the centre, sticking into the skin of 
our old planet Earth like a poisoned dart, was 
this cylinder. But the poison was scarcely 
working yet. Around it was a patch of silent 
common, smouldering in places, and with a few 
dark, dimly - seen objects lying in contorted 
attitudes here and there. Here and there was 
a burning bush or tree. Beyond was a fringe of 
excitement, and further than that fringe the in- 
flammation had not crept as yet. In the rest 
of the world the stream of life still flowed as it 
had flowed for immemorial years. The fever 
of war that would presently clog vein and 
artery, deaden nerve and destroy brain, had 
still to develop. 

All night long the Martians were hammering 
and stirring, sleepless, indefatigable, at work 
upon the machines they were making ready, 



Friday Night 55 

and ever and again a puff of greenish-white 
smoke whirled up to the starlit sky. 

About eleven a company of soldiers came 
through Horsell, and deployed along the edge 
of the common to form a cordon. Later a 
second company marched through Chobham to 
deploy on the north side of the common. 
Several officers from the Inkerman barracks 
had been on the common earlier in the day, 
and one, Major Eden, was reported to be miss- 
ing. The Colonel of the regiment came to the 
Chobham bridge, and was busy questioning the 
crowd at midnight. The military authorities 
were certainly alive to the seriousness of the busi- 
ness. About eleven, the next morning's papers 
were able to say, a squadron of hussars, two 
Maxims, and about 400 men of the Cardigan 
regiment, started from Aldershot. 

A few seconds after midnight the crowd in 
the Chertsey road, Woking, saw a star fall 
from heaven into the pine-woods to the north- 
west. It fell with a greenish light, causing a 
flash of light like summer lightning. This was 
the second cylinder. 



IX. 

THE FIGHTING BEGINS. 

SATURDAY lives in my memory as a day of 
suspense. It was a day of lassitude too, hot 
and close, with, I am told, a rapidly fluctuating 
barometer. I had slept but little, though my 
wife had succeeded in sleeping, and I rose 
early. I went into my garden before break- 
fast, and stood listening, but towards the 
common there was nothing stirring but a 
lark. 

The milkman came as usual. I heard the 
rattle of his chariot, and I went round to 
the side -gate to ask the latest news. He 
told me that during the night the Martians 
had been surrounded by troops, and that 
guns were expected. Then, a familiar reassur- 
ing note, I heard a train running towards 
Woking. 

' They aren't to be killed/ said the milkman, 
' if that can possibly be avoided.' 

I saw my neighbour gardening, chatted with 



The Fighting begins 57 

him for a time, and then strolled in to breakfast. 
It was a most unexceptional morning. My 
neighbour was of opinion that the troops would 
be able to capture or to destroy the Martians 
during the day. 

1 It's a pity they make themselves so un- 
approachable,' he said. ' It would be curious 
to learn how they live on another planet ; we 
might learn a thing or two.' 

He came up to the fence and extended a 
handful of strawberries, for his gardening was 
as generous as it was enthusiastic. At the 
same time he told me of the burning of the 
pine-woods about the Byfleet Golf Links. 

' They say,' said he, ' that there's another oil 
those blessed things fallen there number two. 
But one's enough, surely. This lot '11 cost the 
insurance people a pretty penny before every- 
thing's settled.' He laughed with an air of the 
greatest good-humour as he said this. The 
woods, he said, were still burning, and pointed 
out a haze of smoke to me. ' They will be hot 
under foot for days on account of the thick soil 
--of pine-needles and turf, 1 he said, and then 
grew serious over ' poor Ogilvy.' 

After breakfast, instead of working, I decided 
to walk down towards the common. Under the 
railway-bridge I found a group of soldiers 



58 The War of the Worlds 

sappers, I think, men in small round caps, dirty 
red jackets unbuttoned, and showing their blue 
shirts, dark trousers, and boots coming to the 
calf. They told me no one was allowed over 
the canal, and, looking along the road towards 
the bridge, I saw one of the Cardigan men 
standing sentinel there. I talked with these 
soldiers for a time ; I told them of my sight of 
the Martians on the previous evening. None 
of them had seen the Martians, and they had 
but the vaguest ideas of them, so that they 
plied me with questions. They said that they 
did not know who had authorized the move- 
ments of the troops ; their idea was that a 
dispute had arisen at the Horse Guards. The 
ordinary sapper is a great deal better educated 
than the common soldier, and they discussed the 
peculiar conditions of the possible fight with 
some acuteness. I described the Heat- Ray to 
them, and they began to argue among them- 
selves. 

' Crawl up under cover and rush 'em, say I,' 
said one. 

' Get aht !' said another. ' What's Cover 
against this 'ere 'eat ? Sticks to cook yer ! 
What we got to do is to go as near as the 
ground '11 let us, and then drive a trench.' 

' Blow yer trenches ! You always want 



The Fighting begins 59 

trenches ; you ought to ha' been born a rabbit, 
Snippy.' 

' Ain't they got any necks, then ?' said a 
third abruptly a little, contemplative, dark 
man, smoking a pipe. 

I repeated my description. 

' Octopuses,' said he, ' that's what I calls 
'em. Talk about fishers of men fighters of 
fish it is this time !' 

' It ain't no murder killing beasts like that,' 
said the first speaker. 

' Why not shell the darned things strite off 
and finish 'em ?' said the little dark man. 'You 
earn tell what they might do.' 

4 Where's your shells ?' said the first speaker. 
' There ain't no time. Do it in a rush, that's 
my tip, and do it at once.' 

So they discussed it. After a while I left 
them, and went on to the railway-station to 
get as many morning papers as I could. 

But I will not weary the reader with a descrip- 
tion of that long morning and of the longer after- 
noon. I did not succeed in getting a glimpse of 
the common, for even Horsell and Chobham 
church towers were in the hands of the military 
authorities. The soldiers I addressed didn't 
know anything ; the officers were mysterious as 
well as busy. I found people in the town quite 



60 The War of the Worlds 

secure again in the presence of the military, 
and I heard for the first time from Marshall, 
the tobacconist, that his son was among the 
dead on the common. The soldiers had made 
the people on the outskirts of Horsell lock up 
and leave their houses. 

I got back to lunch about two, very tired, 
for, as I have said, the day was extremely hot 
and dull, and in order to refresh myself I took 
a cold bath in the afternoon. About half-past 
four I went up to the railway-station to get an 
evening paper, for the morning papers had con- 
tained only a very inaccurate description of the 
killing of Stent, Henderson, Ogilvy, and the 
others. But there was little I didn't know. 
The Martians did not show an inch of them- 
selves. They seemed busy in their pit, and 
there was a sound of hammering and an almost 
continuous streamer of smoke. Apparently, 
they were busy getting ready for a struggle. 
' Fresh attempts have been made to signal, but 
without success,' was the stereotyped formula of 
the papers. A sapper told me it was done by 
a man in a ditch with a flag on a long pole. 
The Martians took as much notice of such 
advances as we should of the lowing of a 
cow. 

I must confess the sight of all this armament, 



The Fighting begins 61 

all this preparation, greatly excited me. My 
imagination became belligerent, and defeated 
the invaders in a dozen striking ways ; some- 
thing of my schoolboy dreams of battle and 
heroism came back. It hardly seemed a fair 
fight to me at that time. They seemed very 
helpless in this pit of theirs. 

About three o'clock there began the thud of 
a gun at measured intervals from Chertsey or 
Addlestone. I learnt that the smouldering 
pine-wood into which the second cylinder had 
fallen was being shelled, in the hope of destroy- 
ing that object before it opened. It was only 
above five, however, that a field-gun reached 
Chobham for use against the first body of 
Martians. 

About six in the evening, as I sat at tea with 
my wife in the summer-house talking vigorously 
about the battle that was lowering upon us, I 
heard a mufHed detonation from the common, 
and immediately after a gust of firing. Close 
on the heels of that came a violent, rattling 
crash, quite close to us, that shook the ground ; 
^and, starting out upon the lawn, I saw the tops 
of the trees about the Oriental College burst 
into smoky red flame, and the tower of the 
little church beside it slide down into ruin. 
The pinnacle of the mosque had vanished, and 



62 The War of the Worlds 

the roof-line of the college itself looked as if a 
hundred-ton gun had been at work upon it. 
One of our chimneys cracked as if a shot had 
hit it, flew, and the piece of it came clattering 
down the tiles and made a heap of broken red 
fragments upon the flower-bed by my study 
window. 

I and my wife stood amazed. Then I realized 
that the crest of Maybury Hill must be within 
range of the Martians' Heat- Ray now that the 
college was cleared out of the way. 

At that I gripped my wife's arm, and without 
ceremony ran her out into the road. Then I 
fetched out the servant, telling her I would go 
upstairs myself for the box she was clamouring 
for. 

' We can't possibly stay here,' I said ; and as 
I spoke the firing re-opened for a moment upon 
the common. 

' But where are we to go ?' said my wife in 
terror. 

I thought, perplexed. Then I remembered 
her cousins at Leatherhead. 

' Leatherhead !' I shouted above the sudden 
noise. 

She looked away from me downhill. The 
people were coming out of their houses as- 
tonished. 






The Fighting begins 63 

' How are we to get to Leatherhead ? she 
said. 

Down the hill I saw a bevy of hussars 
ride under the railway-bridge ; three galloped 
through the open gates of the Oriental College ; 
two others dismounted, and began running from 
house to house. The sun, shining through the 
smoke that drove up from the tops of the trees, 
seemed blood-red, and threw an unfamiliar lurid 
light upon everything. 

1 Stop here,' said I ; ' you are safe here ;' and 
I started off at once for the Spotted Dog, for I 
knew the landlord had a horse and dogcart. 
I ran, for I perceived that in a moment every- 
one upon this side of the hill would be moving. 
I found him in his bar, quite unaware of what 
was going on behind his house. A man stood 
with his back to me, talking to him. 

' I must have a pound,' said the landlord, 
' and I've no one to drive it.' 

' I'll give you two,' said I, over the stranger's 
shoulder. 

'What for?' 

' And I'll bring it back by midnight,' I said. 

1 Lord !' said the landlord, ' what's the 
hurry ? I'm selling my bit of a pig. Two 
pounds, and you bring it back ? What's going 
on now ?' 



64 The War of the Worlds 

I explained hastily that I had to leave my 
home, and so secured the dogcart. At the 
time it did not seem to me nearly so urgent 
that the landlord should leave his. I took care to 
have the cart there and then, drove it off down 
the road, and, leaving it in charge of my wife 
and servant, rushed into my house and packed 
a few valuables, such plate as we had, and so 
forth. The beech-trees below the house were 
burning while I did this, and the palings up the 
road glowed red. While I was occupied in this 
way, one of the dismounted hussars came run- 
ning up. He was going from house to house, 
warning people to leave. He was going on 
as I came out of my front-door, lugging my 
treasures, done up in a table-cloth. I shouted 
after him : 

4 What news ?' 

He turned, stared, bawled something about 
1 crawling out in a thing like a dish cover/ and 
ran on to the gate of the house at the crest. 
A sudden whirl of black smoke driving across 
the road hid him for a moment. I ran to my 
neighbour's door, and rapped to satisfy myself, 
what I already knew, that his wife had gone to 
London with him, and had locked up their 
house. I went in again according to my promise 
to get my servant's box, lugged it out, clapped 



The Fighting begins 65 

it beside her on the tail of the dogcart, and 
then caught the reins and jumped up into the 
driver's seat beside my wife. In another 
moment we were clear of the smoke and 
noise, and spanking down the opposite slope 
of May bury Hill towards Old Woking. 

In front was a quiet sunny landscape, a wheat- 
field ahead on either side of the road, and the 
May bury Inn with its swinging sign. I saw 
the doctor's cart ahead of me. At the bottom 
of the hill I turned my head to look at the 
hillside I was leaving. Thick streamers of 
black smoke shot with threads of red fire were 
driving up into the still air, and throwing dark 
shadows upon the green tree-tops eastward. 
The smoke already extended far away to the 
east and west to the Byfleet pine-woods east- 
ward, and to Woking on the west. The road 
was dotted with people running towards us. 
And very faint now, but very distinct through 
the hot, quiet air, one heard the whirr of a 
machine-gun that was presently stilled, and an 
intermittent cracking of rifles. Apparently, the 
-^Martians were setting fire to everything within 
range of their Heat- Ray. 

I am not an expert driver, and I had imme- 
diately to turn my attention to the horse. 
When I looked back again the second hill had 

5 



66 The War of the Worlds 

hidden the black smoke. I slashed the horse 
with the whip, and gave him a loose rein until 
Woking and Send lay between us and that 
quivering tumult. I overtook and passed the 
doctor between Woking and Send. 



X. 

IN THE STORM. 

LEATHERHEAD is about twelve miles from 
May bury Hill. The scent of hay was in the 
air through the lush meadows beyond Pyrford, 
and the hedges on either side were sweet and 
gay with multitudes of dog-roses. The heavy 
firing that had broken out while we were driving 
down Maybury Hill ceased as abruptly as it 
began, leaving the evening very peaceful and 
still. We got to Leatherhead without mis- 
adventure about nine o'clock, and the horse 
had an hour's rest while I took supper with 
my cousins and commended my wife to their 
care. 

My wife was curiously silent throughout the 
drive, and seemed oppressed with forebodings 
"of evil. I talked to her reassuringly, pointing 
out that the Martians were tied to the pit by 
sheer heaviness, and, at the utmost, could but 
crawl a little out of it, but she answered only 
in monosyllables. Had it not been for my 

52 



68 The War of the Worlds 

promise to the innkeeper, she would, I think, 
have urged me to stay in Leatherhead that 
night. Would that I had ! Her face, I re- 
member, was very white as we parted. 

For my own part, I had been feverishly ex- 
cited all day. Something very like the war-fever, 
that occasionally runs through a civilized com- 
munity, had got into my blood, and in my heart 
I was not so very sorry that I had to return to 
May bury that night. I was even afraid that 
last fusillade I had heard might mean the 
extermination of our invaders from Mars. I 
can best express my state of mind by saying 
that I wanted to be in at the death. 

It was nearly eleven when I started to return, 
The night was unexpectedly dark ; to me, 
walking out of the lighted passage of my 
cousins' house, it seemed indeed black, and it 
was as hot and close as the day. Overhead 
the clouds were driving fast, albeit not a breath 
stirred the shrubs about us. My cousins' man 
lit both lamps. Happily, I knew the road 
intimately. My wife stood in the light of the 
doorway, and watched me until I jumped up 
into the dogcart. Then abruptly she turned 
and went in, leaving my cousins side by side 
wishing me good hap. 

I was a little depressed at first with the con- 



In the Storm 69 

tagion of my wife's fears, but very soon my 
thoughts reverted to the Martians. At that 
time I was absolutely in the dark as to the 
course of the evening's fighting. I did not 
know even the circumstances that had pre- 
cipitated the conflict. As I came through 
Ockham (for that was the way I returned, and 
not through Send and Old Woking) I saw 
along the western horizon a blood-red glow, 
which, as I drew nearer, crept slowly up the 
sky. The driving clouds of the gathering 
thunderstorm mingled there with masses of 
black and red smoke. 

Ripley Street was deserted, and except for a 
lighted window or so the village showed not 
a sign of life ; but I narrowly escaped an 
accident at the corner of the road to Pyrford, 
where a knot of people stood with their backs 
to me. They said nothing to me as I passed. 
I do not know what they knew of the things 
happening beyond the hill, nor do I know if 
the silent houses I passed on my way were 
sleeping securely, or deserted and empty, or 
harassed and watching against the terror of the 
night. 

From Ripley until I came through Pyrford I 
was in the valley of the Wey, and the red glare 
was hidden from me. As I ascended the little 



70 The War of the Worlds 

hill beyond Pyrford Church the glare came into 
view again, and the trees about me shivered 
with the first intimation of the storm that was 
upon me. Then I heard midnight pealing out 
from Pyrford Church behind me, and then came 
the silhouette of May bury Hill, with its tree- 
tops and roofs black and sharp against the red. 

Even as I beheld this, a lurid green glare lit 
the road about me, and showed the distant 
woods towards Addlestone. I felt a tug at the 
reins. I saw that the driving clouds had been 
pierced as it were by a thread of green fire, 
suddenly lighting their confusion and falling 
into the fields to my left. It was the Third 
Falling Star ! 

Close on its apparition, and blindingly violet 
by contrast, danced out the first lightning of 
the gathering storm, and the thunder burst like 
a rocket overhead. The horse took the bit 
between his teeth and bolted. 

A moderate incline runs down towards the 
foot of Maybury Hill, and down this we 
clattered. Once the lightning had begun, it 
went on in as rapid a succession of flashes as 
I have ever seen. The thunder-claps, treading 
one on the heels of another and with a strange 

O 

crackling accompaniment, sounded more like 
the working of a gigantic electric machine 



In the Storm 71 

than the usual detonating reverberations. The 
flickering light was blinding and confusing, and 
a thin hail smote gustily at my face as I drove 
down the slope. 

At first I regarded little but the road before 
me, and then abruptly my attention was arrested 
by something that was moving rapidly down 
the opposite slope of Maybury Hill. At first 
I took it for the wet roof of a house, but one 
flash following another showed it to be in swift 
rolling movement. It was an elusive vision 
a moment bewildering darkness, and then in 
a flash like daylight, the red masses of the 
Orphanage near the crest of the hill, the green 
tops of the pine-trees, and this problematical 
object came out clear and sharp and bright. 

*And this thing I saw! How can I describe 
it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many 
houses, striding over the young pine-trees, and 
smashing them aside in its career ; a walking 
engine of glittering metal, striding now across 
the heather ; articulate ropes of steel dangling 
from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage" 
mingling with the riot of the thunder.' A flash, 
and it came out vividly, heeling over one way 
with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear 
almost instantly as it seemed, with the next 
flash, a hundred yards nearer. Can you imagine 



72 The War of the Worlds 

a milking-stool tilted and bowled violently 
along the ground ? That was the impression 
those instant flashes gave. But instead of a 
milking-stool imagine it a great body of 
machinery on a tripod stand. 

Then suddenly the trees in the pine-wood 
ahead of me were parted, as brittle reeds are 
parted by a man thrusting through them ; they 
were snapped off and driven headlong, and a 
second huge , tripod appeared, rushing, as it 
seemed, headlong towards me. And I was 
galloping hard to meet it ! At the sight of the 
second monster, my nerve went altogether. 
Not stopping to look again, I wrenched the 
horse's head hard round to the right, and in 
another moment the dogcart had heeled over 
upon the horse ; the shafts smashed noisily, and 
I was flung sideways and fell heavily into a 
shallow pool of water. 

I crawled out almost immediately, and 
crouched, my feet still in the water, under a 
clump of furze. The horse lay motionless (his 
neck was broken, poor brute !), and by the 
lightning flashes I saw the black bulk of the 
overturned dogcart, and the silhouette of 
the wheel still spinning slowly. In another 
moment the colossal mechanism went striding 
by me, and passed uphill towards Pyrford. 



In the Storm 73 

Seen nearer, the thing was incredibly strange, 
for it was no mere insensate machine driving 
on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing 
metallic pace, and long flexible glittering ten- 
tacles (one of which gripped a young pine-tree) 
swinging and rattling about its strange body. 
It picked its road as it went striding along, and 
the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to 
and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head 
looking about it. Behind the main body was 
a huge thing of white metal like a gigantic 
fisherman's basket, and puffs of green smoke 
squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the 
monster swept by me. And in an instant it 
was gone. 

So much I* saw then, all vaguely for the 
flickering of the lightning, in blinding high 
lights and dense black shadows. 

As it passed it set up an exultant deafening 
howl that drowned the thunder, ' Aloo ! aloo !' 
and in another minute it was with its com- 
panion, and half a mile away, stooping over 
something in the field. I have no doubt 
this thing in the field was the third of the 
ten cylinders they had fired at us from 
Mars. 

For some minutes I lay there in the rain and 
darkness watching, by the intermittent light, 



74 The War of the Worlds 

these monstrous beings of metal moving about 
in the distance over the hedge-tops. A thin 
hail was now beginning, and as it came and 
went, their figures grew misty and then flashed 
into clearness again. Now and then came a 
gap in the lightning, and the night swallowed 
them up. 

I was soaked with hail above and puddle- 
water below. It was some time before my blank 
astonishment would let me struggle up the bank 
to a drier position, or think at all of my imminent 
peril. 

Not far from me was a little one-roomed 
squatter's hut of wood, surrounded by a patch 
of potato-garden. I struggled to my feet at 
last, and, crouching and making use of every 
chance of cover, I made a run for this. I ham- 
mered at the door, but I could not make the 
people hear (if there were any people inside), 
and after a time I desisted, and, availing myself 
of a ditch for the greater part of the way, suc- 
ceeded in crawling, unobserved by these 
monstrous machines, into the pine-wood towards 
Maybury. 

Under cover of this I pushed on, wet and 
shivering now, towards my own house. I 
walked among the trees trying to find the foot- 
path. It was very dark indeed in the wood, 






In the Storm 75 

for the lightning was now becoming infrequent, 
and the hail, which was pouring down in a 
torrent, fell in columns through the gaps in the 
heavy foliage. 

If I had fully realized the meaning of all the 
things I had seen I should have immediately 
worked my way round through Byfleet to Street 
Cobham, and so gone back to rejoin my wife 
at Leatherhead. But that night the strangeness 
of things about me, and my physical wretched- 
ness, prevented me, for I was bruised, weary, 
wet to the skin, deafened and blinded by the 
storm. 

I had a vague idea of going on to my own 
house, and that was as much motive as I had. 
I staggered through the trees, fell into a ditch 
and bruised my knees against a plank, and 
finally splashed out into the lane that ran down 
from the College Arms. I say splashed, for 
the storm water was sweeping the sand down 
the hill in a muddy torrent. There in the 
darkness a man blundered into me and sent me 
reeling back. 

He gave a cry of terror, sprung sideways, 
and rushed on before I could gather my wits 
sufficiently to speak to him. So heavy was the 
stress of the storm just at this place that I had 
the hardest task to win my way up the hill. I 



76 The War of the Worlds 

went close up to the fence on the left and worked 
my way along its palings. 

Near the top I stumbled upon something 
soft, and, by a flash of lightning, saw between 
my feet a heap of black broadcloth and a pair 
of boots. Before I could distinguish clearly 
how the man lay, the flicker of light had passed. 
I stood over him waiting for the next flash. 
When it came, I saw that he was a sturdy man, 
cheaply but not shabbily dressed ; his head was 
bent under his body, and he lay crumpled up 
close to the fence, as though he had been flung 
violently against it. 

Overcoming the repugnance natural to one 
who had never before touched a dead body, I 
stooped and turned him over to feel for his 
heart. He was quite dead. Apparently his 
neck had been broken. The lightning flashed 
for a third time, and his face leapt upon me. I 
sprang to my feet. It was the landlord of the 
Spotted Dog, whose conveyance I had taken. 

I stepped over him gingerly and pushed on 
up the hill. I made my way by the police- 
station and the College Arms towards my own 
house. Nothing was burning on the hillside, 
though from the common there still came a red 
glare and a rolling tumult of ruddy smoke beat- 
ing up against the drenching hail. So far as I 



In the Storm 70 

could see by the flashes, the houses about me 
were mostly uninjured. By the College Arms 
a dark heap lay in the road. 

Down the road towards Maybury Bridge 
there were voices and the sound of feet, but I 
had not the courage to shout or to go to them. 
I let myself in with my latch-key, closed, locked 
and bolted the door, staggered to the foot of the 
staircase and sat down. My imagination was 
full of those striding metallic monsters, and of 
the dead body smashed against the fence. 

I crouched at the foot of the staircase with my 
back to the wall, shivering violently. 



7' 



XL 

AT THE WINDOW. 

I HAVE said already that my storms of emotion 
have a trick of exhausting themselves. After 
a time I discovered that I was cold and wet, 
and with little pools of water about me on the 
stair-carpet. I got up almost mechanically, 
went into the dining-room and drank some 
whisky, and then I was moved to change my 
clothes. 

After I had done that I went upstairs to my 
study, but why I did so I do not know. The 
window of my study looks over the trees and 
the railway towards Horsell Common. In the 
hurry of our departure this window had been 
left open. The passage was dark, and, by 
contrast with the picture the window-frame 
enclosed, that side of the room seemed im- 
penetrably dark. I stopped short in the door- 
way. 

The thunderstorm had passed. The towers 
of the Oriental College and the pine-trees about 



At the Window 79 

it had gone, and very far away, lit by a vivid 
red glare, the common about the sand-pits was 
visible. Across the light, huge black shapes, 
grotesque and strange, moved busily to and 
fro. 

*It seemed, indeed, as if the whole country 
in that direction was on fire a broad hillside 
set with minute tongues of flame, swaying and 
writhing with the gusts of the dying storm, and 
throwing a red reflection upon the cloud scud 
above. Every now and then a haze of smoke 
from some nearer conflagration drove across 
the window and hid the Martian shapes/ I 
could not see what they were doing, nor the 
clear form of them, nor recognise f the black 
objects they were busied upon. Neither could 
I see the nearer fire, though the reflections of 
it danced on the wall and ceiling of the study. 
A sharp, resinous twang of burning was in the 
air. 

I closed the door noiselessly and crept 
towards the window. As I did so, the view 
opened out until, on the one hand, it reached 
^to the houses about Woking Station, and on 
the other to the charred and blackened pine- 
woods of Byfleet. There was a light down 
below the hill, on the railway, near the arch, 
and several of the houses along the Maybury 



8o The War of the Worlds 

road and the streets near the station were 
glowing ruins. The light upon the railway 
puzzled me at first ; there was a black heap 
and a vivid glare, and to the right of that a 
row of yellow oblongs. Then I perceived this 
was a wrecked train, the fore part smashed 
and on fire, the hinder carriages still upon the 
rails. 

Between these three main centres of light, 
the houses, the train, and the burning country 
towards Chobham, stretched irregular patches 
of dark country, broken here and there by 
intervals of dimly glowing and smoking ground. 
It was the strangest spectacle, that black 
expanse set with fire. It reminded me, more 
than anything else, of the Potteries seen at 
night. People at first I could distinguish 
none, though I peered intently for them. 
Later I saw against the light of Woking 
Station a number of black figures hurrying one 
after the other across the line. 

And this was the little world in which I had 
been living securely for years, this fiery chaos ! 
What had happened in the last seven hours I 
still did not know, nor did I know, though I 
was beginning to guess, the relation between 
these mechanical colossi and the sluggish 
lumps I had seen disgorged from the cylinder. 



At the Window 81 

With a queer feeling of impersonal interest I 
turned my desk-chair to the window, sat down, 
and stared at the blackened country, and par- 
ticularly at the three gigantic black things that 
were going to and fro in the glare about the 
sand-pits. 

They seemed amazingly busy. I began to 
ask myself what they could be. Were they 
intelligent mechanisms ? Such a thing I felt 
was impossible. Or did a Martian sit within 
each, ruling, directing, using, much as a man's 
brain sits and rules in his body ? I began 
to compare the things to human machines, to 
ask myself for the first time in my life how an 
ironclad or a steam-engine would seem to an 
intelligent lower animal. 

The storm had left the sky clear, and over 
the smoke of the burning land the little fading 
pin-point of Mars was dropping into the west, 
when the soldier came into my garden. I 
heard a slight scraping at the fence, and rousing 
myself from the lethargy that had fallen upon 
me, I looked down and saw him dimly, 
^clambering over the palings. At the sight of 
another human being my torpor passed, and 
I leant out of the window eagerly. 

' Hist !' said I in a whisper. 

He stopped astride of the fence in doubt. 

6 



82 The War of the Worlds 

Then he came over and across the lawn to the 
corner of the house. He bent down and 
stepped softly. 

' Who's there ?' he said, also whispering, 
standing under the window and peering up. 

' Where are you going ?' I asked. 

' God knows.' 

' Are you trying to hide ?' 

' That's it.' 

' Come into the house,' I said. 

I went down, unfastened the door and let 
him in, and locked the door again. I could not 
see his face. He was hatless, and his coat was 
unbuttoned. 

' My God !' he said as I drew him in. 

' What has happened ?' I asked. 

' What hasn't ?' In the obscurity I could see 
he made a gesture of despair. ' They wiped 
us out simply wiped us out,' he repeated again 
and again. 

He followed me, almost mechanically, into 
the dining-room. 

' Take some whisky,' I said, pouring out a 
stiff dose. 

He drank it. Then abruptly he sat down 
before the table, put his head on his arms, and 
began to sob and weep like a little boy, in a 
perfect passion of emotion, while I, with a 



At the Window 83 

curious forgetfulness of my own recent despair, 
stood beside him wondering. 

It was a long time before he could steady his 
nerves to answer my questions, and then he 
answered perplexingly and brokenly. He was 
a driver in the artillery, and had only come 
into action about seven. At that time firing 
was going on across the common, and it was 
said the first party of Martians were crawling 
slowly towards their second cylinder under 
cover of a metal shield. 

Later this shield staggered up on tripod legs, 
and became the first of the fighting machines I 
had seen. The gun he drove had been un- 
limbered near Horsell, in order to command 
the sand-pits, and its arrival had precipitated 
the action. As the limber gunners went to 
the rear, his horse trod in a rabbit-hole and 
came down, throwing him into a depression of 
the ground. At the same moment the gun 
exploded behind him, the ammunition blew up, 
there was fire all about him, and he found him- 
self lying under a heap of charred dead men and 
dead horses. 

' I lay still,' he said, ' scared out of my wits, 
with the fore-quarter of a horse atop of me. 
We'd been wiped out. And the smell good 
God ! Like burnt meat ! I was hurt across 

62 



84 The War of the Worlds 

the back by the fall of the horse, and there I 
had to lie until I felt better. Just like parade 
it had been a minute before then stumble, 
bang, swish ! 

' Wiped out !' he said. 

He had hid under the dead horse for a long 
time, peeping out furtively across the common. 
The Cardigan men had tried a rush, in skirmish- 
ing order, at the pit, simply to be swept out of 
existence. Then the monster had risen to its 
feet, and had begun to walk leisurely to and fro 
across the common, among the few fugitives, 
with its head-like hood turning about exactly 
like the head of a cowled human being. A 
kind of arm carried a complicated metallic 
case, about which green flashes scintillated, and 
out of the funnel of this there smote the Heat- 
Ray. 

In a few minutes there was, so far as the 
soldier could see, not a living thing left upon 
the common, and every bush and tree upon it 
that was not already a blackened skeleton was 
burning. The hussars had been on the road 
beyond the curvature of the ground, and he saw- 
nothing of them. He heard the Maxims rattle 
for a time, and then become still. The giant 
saved Woking Station and its cluster of houses 
until last ; then in a moment the Heat- Ray was 



At the Window 85 

brought to bear, and the town became a heap of 
fiery ruins. Then the thing shut off the Heat- 
Ray, and, turning its back upon the artilleryman, 
began to waddle away towards the smouldering 
pine-woods that sheltered the second cylinder. 
As it did so, a second glittering Titan built itself 
up out of the pit. 

The second monster followed the first, and at 
that the artilleryman began to crawl very 
cautiously across the hot heather ash towards 
Horsell. He managed to get alive into the 
ditch along by the side of the road, and so 
escaped to Woking. There his story became 
ejaculatory. The place was impassable. It 
seems there were a few people alive there, 
frantic for the most part, and many burnt and 
scalded. He was turned aside by the fire, and 
hid among some almost scorching heaps of 
broken wall as one of the Martian giants re- 
turned. He saw this one pursue a man, catch 
him up in one of its steely tentacles, and knock 
his head against the trunk of a pine-tree. At 
last, after nightfall, the artilleryman made a 
rush for it and got over the railway embank- 
ment. 

Since then he had been skulking along towards 
Maybury, in the hope of getting out of danger 
Londonward. People were hiding in trenches 



86 The War of the Worlds 

and cellars, and many of the survivors had made 
off towards Woking Village and Send. He had 
been consumed with thirst until he found one of 
the water mains near the railway arch smashed, 
and the water bubbling out like a spring upon 
the road. 

That was the story I got from him bit by 
bit. He grew calmer telling me and trying to 
make me see the things he had seen. He had 
eaten no food since mid-day, he told me early 
in his narrative, and I found some mutton and 
bread in the pantry and brought it into the 
room. We lit no lamp, for fear of attracting the 
Martians, and ever and again our hands would 
touch upon bread or meat. As he talked, things 
about us came darkly out of the darkness, and 
the trampled bushes and broken rose-trees out- 
side the window grew distinct. It would seem 
that a number of men or animals had rushed 
across the lawn. I began to see his face, 
blackened and haggard, as no doubt mine was 
also. 

When we had finished eating we went softly 
upstairs to my study, and I looked again out of 
the open window. In one night the valley had 
become a valley of ashes. The fires had 
dwindled now. Where flames had been there 
were now streamers of smoke ; but the count- 



At the Window 87 

less ruins of shattered and gutted houses and 
blasted and blackened trees that the night had 
hidden stood out now gaunt and terrible in the 
pitiless light of dawn. Yet here and there 
some object had had the luck to escape a 
white railway signal here, the end of a green- 
house there, white and fresh amidst the wreck- 
age. Never before in the history of warfare 
had destruction been so indiscriminate and 
so universal. And, shining with the growing 
light of the east, three of the metallic giants 
stood about the pit, their cowls rotating as 
though they were surveying the desolation they 
had made. 

It seemed to me that the pit had been 
enlarged, and ever and again puffs of vivid 
green vapour streamed up out of it towards 
the brightening dawn streamed up, whirled, 
broke, and vanished. 

Beyond were the pillars of fire about Chob- 
ham. They became pillars of bloodshot smoke 
at the first touch of day. 



XII. 

WHAT I SAW OF THE DESTRUCTION OF WEY- 
BRIDGE AND SHEPPERTON. 

As the dawn grew brighter we withdrew our- 
selves from the window from which we had 
watched the Martians, and went very quietly 
downstairs. 

The artilleryman agreed with me that the 
house was no place to stay in. He proposed, 
he said, to make his way Londonward, and 
thence rejoin his battery No. 12, of the Horse 
Artillery. My plan was to return at once to 
Leatherhead, and so greatly had the strength 
of the Martians impressed me that I had 
determined to take my wife to Newhaven, 
and go with her out of the country forthwith. 
For I already perceived clearly that the country 
about London must inevitably be the scene of a 
disastrous struggle before such creatures as these 
could be destroyed. 

Between us and Leatherhead, however, lay the 
third cylinder, with its guarding giants. Had 



The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 89 

I been alone, I think I should have taken my 
chance and struck across country. But the 
artilleryman dissuaded me : 'It's no kindness 
to the right sort of wife,' he said, ' to make her 
a widow ;' and in the end I agreed to go with 
him, under cover of the woods, northward as far 
as Street Cobham before I parted with him. 
Thence I would make a big detour by Epsom 
to reach Leatherhead. 

I should have started at once, but my com- 
panion had been in active service, and he knew 
better than that. He made me ransack the 
house for a flask, which he filled with whisky ; 
and we lined every available pocket with 
packets of biscuits and slices of meat. Then 
we crept out of the house, and ran as quickly 
as we could down the ill-made road by which I 
had come overnight. The houses seemed de- 
serted. In the road lay a group of three charred 
bodies close together, struck dead by the Heat- 
Ray ; and here and there were things that the 
people had dropped a clock, a slipper, a 
silver spoon, and the like poor valuables. At 
the corner turning up towards the post-office a 
little cart, filled with boxes and furniture, and 
horseless, heeled over on a broken wheel. A 
cash-box had been hastily smashed open, and 
thrown under the debris. 



90 The War of the Worlds 

Except the lodge at the Orphanage, which 
was still on fire, none of the houses had suffered 
very greatly here. The Heat-Ray had shaved 
the chimney-tops and passed. Yet, save our- 
selves, there did not seem to be a living soul 
on Maybury Hill. The majority of the in- 
habitants had escaped, I suppose, by way of 
the Old Woking road the road I had taken 
when I drove to Leatherhead or they had 
hidden. 

We went down the lane, by the body of the 
man in black, sodden now from the overnight 
hail, and broke into the woods at the foot of 
the hill. We pushed through these towards 
the railway, without meeting a soul. The 
woods across the line were but the scarred and 
blackened ruins of woods ; for the most part 
the trees had fallen, but a certain proportion 
still stood, dismal gray stems, with dark-brown 
foliage instead of green. 

On our side the fire had done no more than 
scorch the nearer trees ; it had failed to secure 
its footing. In one place the woodmen had 
been at work on Saturday ; trees, felled and 
freshly trimmed, lay in a clearing, with heaps 
of sawdust, by the sawing machine and its 
engine. Hard by was a temporary hut, de- 
serted. There was not a breath of wind this 



The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 91 

morning, and everything was strangely still. 
Even the birds were hushed, and as we 
hurried along, I and the artilleryman talked 
in whispers, and looked now and again over 
our shoulders. Once or twice we stopped to 
listen. 

After a time we drew near the road, and as 
we did so we heard the clatter of hoofs, and 
saw through the tree - stems three cavalry 
soldiers riding slowly towards Woking. We 
hailed them, and they halted while we hurried 
towards them. It was a lieutenant and a couple 
of privates of the 8th Hussars, with a stand 
like a theodolite, which the artilleryman told 
me was a heliograph. 

' You are the first men I've seen coming 
this way this morning,' said the lieutenant. 
' What's brewing ?' 

His voice and face were eager. The men 
behind him stared curiously. The artilleryman 
jumped down the bank into the road and 
saluted. 

' Gun destroyed last night, sir. Have been 
hiding. Trying to rejoin battery, sir. You'll 
come in sight of the Martians, I expect, about 
half a mile along this road.' 

' What the dickens are they like ?' asked the 
lieutenant. 



92 The War of the Worlds 

' Giants in armour, sir. Hundred feet high. 
Three legs and a body like 'luminium, with a 
mighty great head in a hood, sir.' 

' Get out !' said the lieutenant. ' What con- 
founded nonsense !' 

' You'll see, sir. They carry a kind of box, 
sir, that shoots fire and strikes you dead.' 

' What d'ye mean a gun ?' 

' No, sir,' and the artilleryman began a vivid 
account of the Heat- Ray. Halfway through 
the lieutenant interrupted him and looked up at 
me. I was still standing on the bank by the 
side of the road. 

' Did you see it ?' said the lieutenant. 

'It's perfectly true,' I said. 

' Well,' said the lieutenant, ' I suppose it's 
my business to see it too. Look here ' to the 
artilleryman ' we're detailed here clearing 
people out of their houses. You'd better go 
along and report yourself to Brigadier-General 
Marvin, and tell him all you know. He's at 
W 7 eybridge. Know the way ?' 

' I do,' I said ; and he turned his horse 
southward again. 

' Half a mile, you say ?' said he. 

'At most,' I answered, and pointed over the 
tree-tops southward. He thanked me and rode 
on, and we saw them no more. 



The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 93 

Further along we came upon a group of 
three women and two children in the road, 
busy clearing out a labourer's cottage. They 
had got hold of a little hand-truck, and were 
piling it up with unclean-looking bundles and 
shabby furniture. They were all too assiduously 
engaged to talk to us as we passed. 

By Byfleet Station we emerged from the pine- 
trees, and found the country calm and peaceful 
under the morning sunlight. We were far be- 
yond the range of the Heat- Ray there, and 
had it not been for the silent desertion of some 
of the houses, the stirring movement of packing 
in others, and the knot of soldiers standing on 
the bridge over the railway and staring down 
the line towards Woking, the day would have 
seemed very like any other Sunday. 

Several farm waggons and carts were moving 
creakily along the road to Addlestone, and 
suddenly through the gate of a field we saw, 
across a stretch of flat meadow, six twelve- 
pounders, standing neatly at equal distances 
and pointing towards Woking. The gunners 
cStood by the guns waiting, and the ammunition 
waggons were at a business-like distance. The 
men stood almost as if under inspection. 

'That's good!' said I. 'They will get one 
fair shot, at any rate.' 



94 The War of the Worlds 

The artilleryman hesitated at the gate. 

' I shall go on,' he said. 

Further on towards Weybridge, just over 
the bridge, there were a number of men in 
white fatigue jackets throwing up a long ram- 
part, and more guns behind. 

' It's bows and arrows against the lightning, 
anyhow/ said the artilleryman. ' They 'aven't 
seen that fire-beam yet.' 

The officers who were not actively engaged 
stood and stared over the tree-tops south- 
westward, and the men digging would stop 
every now and again to stare in the same 
direction. 

Byfleet was in a tumult, people packing, and 
a score of hussars, some of them dismounted, 
some on horseback, were hunting them about. 
Three or four black Government waggons, 
with crosses in white circles, and an old 
omnibus, among other vehicles, were being 
loaded in the village street. There were 
scores of people, most of them sufficiently 
Sabbatical to have assumed their best clothes. 
The soldiers were having the greatest difficulty 
in making them realize the gravity of their 
position. We saw one shrivelled old fellow 
with a huge box and a score or more of 
flower-pots containing orchids, angrily expos- 



The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 95 

tulating with the corporal who would leave 
them behind. I stopped and gripped his 
arm. 

' Do you know what's over there ?' I said, 
pointing at the pine-tops that hid the Martians. 

' Eh ?' said he, turning. ' I was explainin' 
these is vallyble.' 

1 Death !' I shouted. ' Death is coming ! 
Death !' and, leaving him to digest that if he 
could, I hurried on after the artilleryman. At 
the corner I looked back. The soldier had 
left him, and he was still standing by his box 
with the pots of orchids on the lid of it, and 
staring vaguely over the trees. 

No one in Weybridge could tell us where the 
headquarters were established ; the whole place 
was in such confusion as I had never seen in any 
town before. Carts, carriages everywhere, the 
most astonishing miscellany of conveyances and 
horseflesh. The respectable inhabitants of the 
place, men in golf and boating costumes, wives 
prettily dressed, were packing, riverside loafers 
energetically helping, children excited, and, for 
4he most part, highly delighted at this astonish- 
ing variation of their Sunday experiences. In 
the midst of it all the worthy vicar was very 
pluckily holding an early celebration, and his 
bell was jangling out above the excitement. 



96 The War of the Worlds 

I and the artilleryman, seated on the step of 
the drinking-fountain, made a very passable 
meal upon what we had brought with us. 
Patrols of soldiers here no longer hussars, but 
grenadiers in white were warning people to 
move now or to take refuge in their cellars as 
soon as the firing began. We saw as we crossed 
the railway bridge that a growing crowd of 
people had assembled in and about the railway- 
station, and the swarming platform was piled 
with boxes and packages. The ordinary traffic 
had been stopped, I believe, in order to allow of 
the passage of troops and guns to Chertsey, and 
I have heard since that a savage struggle 
occurred for places in the special trains that were 
put on at a later hour. 

We remained at Weybridge until mid-day, 
and at that hour we found ourselves at the 
place near Shepperton Lock where the Wey 
and Thames join. Part of the time we spent 
helping two old women to pack a little cart. 
The Wey has a treble mouth, and at this point 
boats are to be hired, and there was a ferry 
across the river. On the Shepperton side was 
an inn, with a lawn, and beyond that the tower 
of Shepperton Church it has been replaced by 
a spire rose above the trees. 

Here we found an excited and noisy crowd 






The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 97 

of fugitives. As yet the flight had not grown 
to a panic, but there were already far more 
people than all the boats going to and fro could 
enable to cross. People came panting along 
under heavy burdens ; one husband and wife 
were even carrying a small outhouse door 
between them, with some of their household 
goods piled thereon. One man told us he meant 
to try to get away from Shepperton Station. 

There was a lot of shouting, and one man 
was even jesting. The idea people seemed to 
have here was that the Martians were simply 
formidable human beings, who might attack and 
sack the town, to be certainly destroyed in the 
end. Every now and then people would glance 
nervously across the Wey, at the meadows 
towards Chertsey, but everything over there 
was still. 

Across the Thames, except just where the 
boats landed, everything was quiet, in vivid con- 
trast with the Surrey side. The people who 
landed there from the boats went tramping off 
down the lane. The big ferry-boat had just 
-made a journey. Three or four soldiers stood 
on the lawn of the inn, staring and jesting at 
the fugitives, without offering to help. The 
inn was closed, as it was now within prohibited 
hours. 



98 The War of the Worlds 

' What's that !' cried a boatman, and ' Shut 

up, you fool !' said a man near me to a yelping 

dog. Then the sound came again, this time 

from the direction of Chertsey, a muffled thud 

the sound of a gun. 

The fighting was beginning. Almost imme- 
diately unseen batteries across the river to our 
right,' unseen because of the trees, took up the 
chorus, firing heavily one after the other. A 
woman screamed. Everyone stood arrested by 
the sudden stir of battle, near us and yet 
invisible to us. Nothing was to be seen save 
flat meadows, cows feeding unconcernedly for 
the most part, and silvery pollard willows 
motionless in the warm sunlight. 

' The sojers '11 stop 'em,' said a woman beside 
me doubtfully. A haziness rose over the tree- 
tops. 

Then suddenly we saw a rush of smoke far 
away up the river, a puff of smoke that jerked 
up into the air, and hung, and forthwith the 
ground heaved under foot and a heavy explosion 
shook the air, smashing two or three windows 
in the houses near, and leaving us aston- 
ished. 

' Here they are !' shouted a man in a blue 
jersey. ' Yonder ! D'yer see them ? Yonder !' 

Quickly, one after the other, one, two, three, 



The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 99 

four of the armoured Martians appeared, far 
away over the little trees, across the flat meadows 
that stretch towards Chertsey, and striding 
hurriedly towards the river. Little cowled 
figures they seemed at first, going with a rolling 
motion and as fast as flying birds. 

Then, advancing obliquely towards us, came 
a fifth. Their armoured bodies glittered in the 
sun, as they swept swiftly forward upon the 
guns, growing rapidly larger as they drew 
nearer. One on the extreme left, the remotest, 
that is, flourished a huge case high in the air, 
and the ghostly terrible Heat- Ray I had already 
seen on Friday night smote towards Chertsey, 
and struck the town. 

At sight of these strange, swift, and terrible 
creatures, the crowd along by the water's edge 
seemed to me to be for a moment horror-struck. 
There was no screaming or shouting, but a 
silence. Then a hoarse murmur and a move- 
ment of feet a splashing from the water. A 
man, too frightened to drop the portmanteau he 
carried on his shoulder, swung round and sent 
me staggering with a blow from the corner of 
his burden. A woman thrust at me with her 
hand and rushed past me. I turned, too, with 
the rush of the people, but I was not too 
terrified for thought. The terrible Heat- 

72 



ioo The War of the Worlds 

Ray was in my mind. To get under water ! 
That was it ! 

' Get under water !' I shouted unheeded. 

I faced about again, and rushed towards the 
approaching Martian rushed right down the 
gravelly beach and headlong into the water. 
Others did the same. A boatload of people 
putting back came leaping out as I rushed past. 
The stones under my feet were muddy and 
slippery, and the river was so low that I ran 
perhaps twenty feet scarcely waist-deep. Then, 
as the Martian towered overhead scarcely a 
couple of hundred yards away, I flung myself 
forward under the surface. The splashes of 
the people in the boats leaping into the river 
sounded like thunderclaps in my ears. People 
were landing hastily on both sides of the 
river. 

But the Martian machine took no more 
notice for the moment of the people running 
this way and that than a man would of the con- 
fusion of ants in a nest against which his foot 
has kicked. When, half suffocated, I raised 
my head above water the Martian's hood pointed 
at the batteries that were still firing across 
the river, and as it advanced it swung loose 
what must have been the generator of the 
Heat- Ray. 






The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. i o I 

In another moment it was on the bank, and 
in a stride wading half-way across. The knees 
of its foremost legs bent at the further bank, 
and in another moment it had raised itself to 
its full height again, close to the village of 
Shepperton. Forthwith the six guns, which, 
unknown to anyone on the right bank, had 
been hidden behind the outskirts of that village, 
fired simultaneously. The sudden near concus- 
sions, the last close upon the first, made my 
heart jump. The monster was already raising 
the case generating the Heat-Ray, as the first 
shell burst six yards above the hood. 

I gave a cry of astonishment. I saw and 
thought nothing of the other four Martian 
monsters : my attention was riveted upon the 
nearer incident. Simultaneously two other 
shells burst in the air near the body as the hood 
twisted round in time to receive, but not in 
time to dodge, the fourth shell. 

The shell burst clean in the face of the thing. 
The hood bulged, flashed, was whirled off in a 
dozen tattered fragments of red flesh and 
glittering metal. 

'Hit!' shouted I, with something between a 
scream and a cheer. 

I heard answering shouts from the people 
in the water about me. I could have leapt 



IO2 The War of the Worlds 

out of the water with that momentary exulta- 
tion. 

The decapitated colossus reeled like a 
drunken giant ; but it did not fall over. It re- 
covered its balance by a miracle, and, no longer 
heeding its steps, and with the camera that fired 
the Heat- Ray now rigidly upheld, it reeled 
swiftly upon Shepperton. The living in- 
telligence, the Martian within the hood, was 
slain and splashed to the four winds of heaven, 
and the thing was now but a mere intricate 
device of metal whirling to destruction. It 
drove along in a straight line, incapable of 
guidance. It struck the tower of Shepperton 
Church, smashing it down as the impact of 
a battering ram might have done, swerved 
aside, blundered on, and collapsed with a 
tremendous impact into the river out of my 
sight. 

A violent explosion shook the air, and a 
spout of water, steam, mud, and shattered 
metal, shot far up into the sky. As the camera 
of the Heat- Ray hit the water, the latter had 
incontinently flashed into steam. In another 
moment a huge wave, like a muddy tidal bore, 
but almost scaldingly hot, came sweeping round 
the bend up-stream. I saw people struggling 
shorewards, and heard their screaming and 



The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 103 

shouting faintly above the seething and roar of 
the Martian's collapse. 

For the moment I heeded nothing of the 
heat, forgot the patent need of self-preservation. 
I splashed through the tumultuous water, push- 
ing aside a man in black to do so, until I could 
see round the bend. Half a dozen deserted 
boats pitched aimlessly upon the confusion of 
the waves. The fallen Martian came into 
sight down-stream, lying across the river, and 
for the most part submerged. 

Thick clouds of steam were pouring off the 
wreckage, and through the tumultuously whirl- 
ing wisps I could see, intermittently and vaguely, 
the gigantic limbs churning the water and fling- 
ing a splash and spray of mud and froth into 
the air. The tentacles swayed and struck like 
living arms, and, save for the helpless purpose- 
lessness of these movements, it was as if some 
wounded thing struggled for life amidst the 
waves. Enormous quantities of a ruddy brown 
fluid were spurting up in noisy jets out of the 
machine. 

My attention was diverted from this sight 
by a furious yelling, like that of the thing called 
a siren in our manufacturing towns. A man, 
knee-deep near the towing-path, shouted in- 
audibly to me and pointed. Looking back, I 



1 04 The War of the Worlds 

saw the other Martians advancing with gigantic 
strides down the river-bank from the direction 
of Chertsey. The Shepperton guns spoke 
this time unavailingly. 

At that I ducked at once under water, and, 
holding my breath until movement was an 
agony, blundered painfully along under the 
surface as long as I could. The water was 
in a tumult about me, and rapidly growing 
hotter. 

When for a moment I raised my head to take 
breath, and throw the hair and water from my 
eyes, the steam was rising in a whirling white fog 
that at first hid the Martians altogether. The 
noise was deafening. Then I saw them dimly, 
colossal figures of gray, magnified by the mist. 
They had passed by me, and two were stooping 
over the frothing tumultuous ruins of their 
comrade. 

The third and fourth stood beside him in 
the water, one perhaps 200 yards from me, 
the other towards Laleham. The generators 
of the Heat- Rays waved high, and the hissing 
beams smote down this way and that. 

The air was full of sound, a deafening and 
confusing conflict of noises, the clangorous din 
of the Martians, the crash of falling houses, 
the thud of trees, fences, sheds, flashing into 



The Destruction of Weybridge, etc. 105 

flame, and the crackling and roaring of fire. 
Dense black smoke was leaping up to mingle 
with the steam from the river, and as^the Heat- 
Ray went to and fro over Weybridge, its im- 
pact was marked by flashes of incandescent 
white, that gave place at once to a smoky dance 
of lurid flames/ The nearer houses still stood 
intact, awaiting their fate, shadowy, faint and 
pallid in the steam, with the fire behind them 
going to and fro. 

For a moment, perhaps, I stood there, breast- 
high in the almost boiling water, dumfounded 
at my position, hopeless of escape. Through 
the reek I could see the people who had been 
with me in the river scrambling out of the 
water through the reeds, like little frogs hurry- 
ing through grass from the advance of a man, 
or running to and fro in utter dismay on the 
towing-path. 

Then suddenly the white flashes of the Heat- 
Ray came leaping towards me. The houses 
caved in as they dissolved at its touch, and 
darted out flames ; the trees changed to fire 
'with a roar. It flickered up and down the 
towing-path, licking off the people who ran 
this way and that, and came down to the 
water's edge not fifty yards from where I stood. ' 
It swept across the river to Shepperton, and 






106 The War of the Worlds 

the water in its track rose in a boiling wheal 
crested with steam. I turned shoreward. 

In another moment the huge wave, well-nigh 
at the boiling-point, had rushed upon me. I 
screamed aloud, and scalded, half blinded, 
agonized, I staggered through the leaping, 
hissing water towards the shore. Had my 
foot stumbled, it would have been the end. I 
fell helplessly, in full sight of the Martians, 
upon the broad, bare gravelly spit that runs 
down to mark the angle of the Wey and 
Thames. I expected nothing but death. 

I have a dim memory of the foot of a Martian 
coming down within a score of yards of my head, 
driving straight into the loose gravel, whirling it 
this way and that, and lifting again ; of a long 
suspense, and then of the four carrying the 
debris of their comrade between them, now 
clear, and then presently faint, through a veil 
of smoke, receding interminably, as it seemed 
to me, across a vast space of river and meadow. 
And then, very slowly, I realized that by a 
miracle I had escaped. 



H the Curate 109 

the pit. They 
the night, and 
smoke that 
e hills about 
-nstead 

FELL IN WITH THE CURATE. 

'S 

ig this sudden lesson in the power 
AFTI weapons, the Martians retreated to 
of teJ-1 position upon Horsell Common, 
their" haste, and encumbered with the 
and ie i r smashed companion, they no 
c[k r :>oked many such a stray and un- 
d ou ;ictim as myself. Had they left their 
nect nd pushed on forthwith, there was 
corm lat time between them and London 
noth 3 f twelve-pounder guns, and they 
but l im ly have reached the capital in 
woul the tidings of their approach ; as 
ac j va :adful and destructive their advent 
sudd- been as the earthquake that 
wou lisbon a century ago. 
destr were m no hurry. Cylinder followed 
B t its interplanetary flight ; every 
cylin hours brought them reinforcement, 
twen'hile the military and naval authori- 
And^y an 've to the tremendous power 
ties, 



io6 The War of the Worlds 

the water in its track rose in a boiling wiergy. 
crested with steam. I turned shoreward, sition, 

In another moment the huge wave, well-r row 
at the boiling-point, had rushed upon meabout 
screamed aloud, and scalded, half blin^ctant 
agonized, I staggered through the leajl and 
hissing water towards the shore. Had miles 
foot stumbled, it would have been the end:amp- 
fell helplessly, in full sight of the Martiarred 
upon the broad, bare gravelly spit that trees, 
down to mark the angle of the Wey 'cades 
Thames. I expected nothing but death, meys, 

I have a dim memory of the foot of a Mairaphs 
coming down within a score of yards of my he' the 
driving straight into the loose gravel, whirlii' now 
this way and that, and lifting again ; of a 1 the 
suspense, and then of the four carrying man 
debris of their comrade between them, save 
clear, and then presently faint, through a 
of smoke, receding interminably, as it seearlier 
to me, across a vast space of river and meatrans- 
And then, very slowly, I realized that I third 
miracle I had escaped. .inks, 

al pit 
e the 
that 
tinel, 
iting- 



: th the Curate 109 

o the pit. They 
*-Q the night, and 
^n smoke that 
-.he hills about 
XIII. ^anstead 

iOW I FELL IN WITH THE CURATE. 

hus 

giving this sudden lesson in the power 
sstrial weapons, the Martians retreated to 
riginal position upon Horsell Common, 

their haste, and encumbered with the 

of their smashed companion, they no 

overlooked many such a stray and un- 

iry victim as myself. Had they left their 

le, and pushed on forthwith, there was 

at that time between them and London 
teries of twelve-pounder guns, and they 

certainly have reached the capital in 

e of the tidings of their approach ; as 

dreadful and destructive their advent 

have been as the earthquake that 

d Lisbon a century ago. 
they were in no hurry. Cylinder followed 
:r ^in its interplanetary flight ; every 
-four hours brought them reinforcement, 
.eanwhile the military and naval authori- 
>w fully alive to the tremendous power 



v/ar of the Worlds 

<ni \*r Agonists, worked with furious eii 
106 The Wr , , 

mute a fresh gun came into po 

the water in its efore twilight, every copse, ever| 
crested with suburban villas on the hilly slopes 

In another gston and Richmond, masked an expJ 
at the 1" tilack muzzle. And through the charreci 
screa* desolated area perhaps twenty square I 
a p- altogether that encircled the Martian enl 

ment on Horsell Common, through ell 
and ruined villages among the green 
through the blackened and smoking ai 
that had been but a day ago pine spif 
crawled the devoted scouts with the heliop 
that were presently to warn the gunners h 
Martian approach. But the Martians 
understood our command of artillery an 
danger of human proximity, and not a 
ventured within a mile of either cylinder 
at the price of his life. 

It would seem these giants spent the e 
part of the afternoon in going to and fro, 
ferring everything from the second and 
cylinders the second in Addlestone Golf I 
and the third at Pyrford to their origin 
on Horsell Common. Over that, abov 
blackened heather and ruined buildings 
stretched far and wide, stood one as sen 
while the rest abandoned their vast figl; 



How I fell in with the Curate 109 

machines and descended into the pit. They 
were hard at work there far into the night, and 
the towering pillar of dense green smoke that 
rose therefrom could be seen from the hills about 
Merrow, and even, it is said, from Banstead 
and Epsom Downs. 

And while the Martians behind me were thus 
preparing for their next sally, and in front of 
me Humanity gathered for the battle, I made 
my way, with infinite pains and labour, from 
the fire and smoke of burning Weybridge 
towards London. 

I saw an abandoned boat, very small and 
remote, drifting down-stream, and, throwing off 
the most of my sodden clothes, I went after it, 
gained it, and so escaped out of that destruction. 
There were no oars in the boat, but I contrived 
to paddle, as much as my parboiled hands 
would allow, down the river towards Halliford 
and Walton, going very tediously, and con- 
tinually looking behind me, as you may well 
understand. 1 followed the river because I 
considered the water gave me my best chance 
*6f escape, should these giants return. 

The hot water from the Martian's overthrow 
drifted down-stream with me, so that for the 
best part of a mile I could see little of either 
bank. Once, however, I made out a string of 



1 1 o The War of the Worlds 

black figures hurrying across the meadows from 
the direction of Weybridge. Halliford, it seemed, 
was quite deserted, and several of the houses 
facincr the river were on fire. It was strange to 

o o 

see the place quite tranquil, quite desolate under 
the hot blue sky, with the smoke and little 
threads of flame going straight up into the heat 
of the afternoon. Never before had I seen 
houses burning without the accompaniment of 
an inconvenient crowd. A little further on the 
dry reeds up the bank were smoking and glow- 
ing, and a line of fire inland was marching 
steadily across a late field of hay. 

For a long time I drifted, so painful and 
weary was I after the violence I had been 
through, and so intense the heat upon the 
water. Then my fears got the better of me 
again, and I resumed my paddling. The sun 
scorched my bare back. At last, as the bridge 
at Walton was coming into sight round the 
bend, my fever and faintness overcame my 
fears, and I landed on the Middlesex bank, and 
lay down, deadly sick, amidst the long grass. I 
suppose the time was then about four or five 
o'clock. I got up presently, walked perhaps 
half a mile without meeting a soul, and then lay 
down again in the shadow of a hedge. I seem 
to remember talking wanderingly to myself 



How I fell in with the Curate i 1 1 

during that last spurt. I was also very thirsty, 
and bitterly regretful I had drunk no more 
water. It is a curious thing that I felt angry 
with my wife ; I cannot account for it, but my 
impotent desire to reach Leatherhead worried 
me excessively. 

I do not clearly remember the arrival of the 
curate, so that I probably dozed. I became 
aware of him as a seated figure in soot-smudged 
shirtsleeves, and with his upturned clean-shaven 
face staring at a faint flickering that danced 
over the sky. The sky was what is called a 
mackerel sky, rows and rows of faint down- 
plumes of cloud, just tinted with the midsummer 
sunset. 

I sat up, and at the rustle of my motion he 
looked at me quickly. 

4 Have you any water ?' I asked abruptly. 

He shook his head. 

4 You have been asking for water for the last 
hour,' he said. 

For a moment we were silent, taking stock 
of one another. I dare say he found me a 
^strange enough figure, naked save for my 
water-soaked trousers and socks, scalded, and 
my face and shoulders blackened from the 
smoke. His face was a fair weakness, his chin 
retreated, and his hair lay in crisp, almost flaxen 



1 1 2 The War of the Worlds 

curls on his low forehead ; his eyes were rather 
large, pale blue, and blankly staring. He spoke 
abruptly, looking vacantly away from me. 

' What does it mean ?' he said. ' What do 
these things mean ?' 

I stared at him and made no answer. 

He extended a thin white hand and spoke 
in almost a complaining tone. 

' Why are these things permitted ? What 
sins have we done ? The morning service was 
over, I was walking through the roads to clear 
my brain for the afternoon, and then fire, 
earthquake, death ! As if it were Sodom and 
Gomorrah ! All our work undone, all the work 
... What are these Martians ?' 

' What are we ?' I answered, clearing my 
throat. 

He gripped his knees and turned to look at 
me again. For half a minute, perhaps, he 
stared silently. 

' I was walking through the roads to clear 
my brains,' he said. ' And suddenly fire, 
earthquake, death !' 

He relapsed into silence, with his chin now 
sunken almost to his knees. 

Presently he began waving his hand : 

' All the work all the Sunday - schools. 
What have we done what has Weybridge 



How I fell in with the Curate 1 1 3 

done ? Everything gone everything de- 
stroyed. The church ! We rebuilt it only 
three years ago. Gone ! swept out of exist- 
ence ! Why ?' 

Another pause, and he broke out again like 
one demented. 

' The smoke of her burning goeth up for 
ever and ever !' he shouted. 

His eyes flamed, and he pointed a lean 
finger in the direction of Weybridge. 

By this time I was beginning to take his 
measure. The tremendous tragedy in which 
he had been involved it was evident he was a 
fugitive from Weybridge had driven him to 
the very verge of his reason. 

' Are we far from Sunbury ?' I said in a 
matter-of-fact tone. 

' What are we to do ?' he asked. ' Are these 
creatures everywhere? Has the earth been 
given over to them ?' 

1 Are we far from Sunbury P 5 

' Only this morning I officiated at early 
celebration. . . .' 

' Things have changed,' I said quietly. 
' You must keep your head. There is still 
hope.' 

'Hope!' 

' Yes; plentiful hope for all this destruction!' 

8 



H4 The War of the Worlds 

I began to explain my view of our position. 
He listened at first, but as I went on the 
interest in his eyes changed to their former 
stare, and his regard wandered from me. 

' This must be the beginning of the end,' he 
said, interrupting me. ' The end ! The great 
and terrible day of the Lord ! When men 
shall call upon the mountains and the rocks to 
fall upon them and hide them hide them 
from the face of Him that sitteth upon the 
throne !' 

I began to understand the position. I ceased 
rny laboured reasoning, struggled to my feet, 
and, standing over him, laid my hand on his 
shoulder. 

1 Be a man,' said I. 'You are scared out of 
your wits. What good is religion if it collapses 
at calamity ? Think of what earthquakes and 
floods, wars and volcanoes, have done before 
to men. Did you think God had exempted 
Wey bridge ? . . . He is not an insurance agent, 
man.' 

For a time he sat in blank silence. 

' But how can we escape ?' he asked suddenly. 

' They are invulnerable, they are pitiless. . . .' 

' Neither the one nor, perhaps, the other,' 

I answered. ' And the mightier they are, 

the more sane and wary should we be. One 



How I fell in with the Curate 1 1 5 

of them was killed yonder not three hours 
ago.' 

' Killed !' he said, staring about him. ' How 
can God's ministers be killed ?' 

' I saw it happen,' I proceeded to tell him. 
' We have chanced to come in for the thick of 
it,' said I, ' and that is all.' 

' What is that flicker in the sky ?' he asked 
abruptly. 

I told him it was the heliograph signalling 
that it was the sign of human help and effort 
in the sky. 

'We are in the midst of it,' I said, ' quiet as 
it is. That flicker in the sky tells of the 
gathering storm. Yonder, I take it, are the 
Martians, and Londonward, where those hills 
rise about Richmond and Kingston, and 
the trees give cover, earthworks are being 
thrown up and guns are being laid. Pre- 
sently the Martians will be coming this way 
again. . . .' 

And even as I spoke, he sprang to his feet 
and stopped me by a gesture. 

' Listen !' he said. . . . 

From beyond the low hills across the 
water came the dull resonance of distant 
guns and a remote, weird crying. Then every- 
thing was still. A cockchafer came droning 

82 



1 1 6 The War of the Worlds 

over the hedge and past us. High in the west 
the crescent moon hung faint and pale, above 
the smoke of Weybridge and Shepperton and 
the hot still splendour of the sunset. 

' We had better follow this path,' I said, 
' northward.' 



XIV. 

IN LONDON. 

MY younger brother was in London when the 
Martians fell at Woking. He was a medical 
student, working for an imminent examination, 
and he heard nothing of the arrival until Satur- 
day morning. The morning papers on Saturday 
contained, in addition to lengthy special articles 
on the planet Mars, on life in the planets, and 
so forth, a brief and vaguely-worded telegram, 
all the more striking for its brevity. 

The Martians, alarmed by the approach of a 
crowd, had killed a number of people with a 
quick-firing gun, so the story ran. The tele- 
gram concluded with the words : ' Formidable 
as they seem to be, the Martians have not 
moved from the pit into which they have 
fallen, and, indeed, seem incapable of doing so. 
Probably this is due to the relative strength of 
the earth's gravitational energy.' On that last 
text the leader-writers expanded very comfort- 
ingly. 



1 1 8 The War of the Worlds 

Of course, all the students in the crammer's 
biology class, to which my brother went that 
day, were intensely interested, but there were no 
signs of any unusual excitement in the streets. 
The afternoon papers puffed scraps of news 
under big headlines. They had nothing to 
tell beyond the movements of troops about the 
common, and the burning of the pine-woods 
between Woking and Weybridge, until eight. 
Then the St. James s Gazette, in an extra 
special edition, announced the bare fact of the 
interruption of telegraphic communication. This 
was thought to be due to the falling of burning 
pine-trees across the line. Nothing more of 
the fighting was known that night, the night of 
my drive to Leatherhead and back. 

My brother felt no anxiety about us, as he 
knew from the description in the papers that the 
cylinder was a good two miles from my house. 
He made up his mind to run down that night 
to me, in order, as he says, to see the things 
before they were killed. He despatched a 
telegram, which never reached me, about four 
o'clock, and spent the evening at a music-hall. 

In London, also, on Saturday night there 
was a thunderstorm, and my brother reached 
Waterloo in a cab. On the platform from 
which the midnight train usually starts he 



In London 119 

learnt, after some waiting, that an accident 
prevented trains from reaching Woking that 
night. The nature of the accident he could 
not ascertain ; indeed, the railway authorities 
did not clearly know at that time. There was 
very little excitement in the station, as the 
officials, failing to realize that anything further 
than a breakdown between Byfleet and Woking 
Junction had occurred, were running the theatre' 
trains, which usually passed through Woking, 
round by Virginia Water or Guildford. They 
were busy making the necessary arrangements 
to alter the route of the Southampton and Ports- 
mouth Sunday League excursions. A nocturnal 
newspaper reporter, mistaking my brother for 
the traffic manager, whom he does to a slight 
extent resemble, waylaid and tried to interview 
him. Few people, excepting the railway officials, 
connected the breakdown with the Martians. 

I have read, in another account of these 
events, that on Sunday morning ' all London 
was electrified by the news from Woking.' 
As a matter of fact, there was nothing to 
justify that very extravagant phrase. Plenty 
of people in London did not hear of the 
Martians until the panic of Monday morning. 
Those who did took some time to realize all 
that the hastily-worded telegrams in the Sunday 



1 20 The War of the Worlds 

papers conveyed. The majority of people in 
London do not read Sunday papers. 

The habit of personal security, moreover, is 
so deeply fixed in the Londoner's mind, and 
startling intelligence so much a matter of course 
in the papers, that they could read without any 
personal tremors : ' About seven o'clock last 
night the Martians came out of the cylinder, 
and, moving about under an armour of metallic 
shields, have completely wrecked Woking 
Station, with the adjacent houses, and mas- 
sacred an entire battalion of the Cardigan 
Regiment. No details are known. Maxims 
have been absolutely useless against their 
armour; the field-guns have been disabled 
by them. Flying hussars have been galloping 
into Chertsey. The Martians appear to be 
moving slowly towards Chertsey or Windsor. 
Great anxiety prevails in West Surrey, and 
earthworks are being thrown up to check the 
advance Londonwards.' That was how the 
Sunday Sun put it, and a clever and remark- 
ably prompt ' hand-book ' article in the Referee 
compared the affair to a menagerie suddenly 
let loose in a village. 

No one in London knew positively of the 
nature of the armoured Martians, and there 
was still a fixed idea that these monsters must 



In London 121 

be sluggish : ' crawling,' ' creeping painfully ' 
such expressions occurred in almost all the 
earlier reports. None of the telegrams could 
have been written by an eye-witness of their 
advance. The Sunday papers printed separate 
editions as further news came to hand, some 
even in default of it. But there was practically 
nothing more to tell people until late in the 
afternoon, when the authorities gave the press 
agencies the news in their possession. It was 
stated that the people of Walton and Weybridge, 
and all that district, were pouring along the 
roads Londonward, and that was all. 

My brother went to church at the Foundling 
Hospital in the morning, still in ignorance of 
what had happened on the previous night. 
There he heard allusions made to the invasion, 
and a special prayer for peace. Coming out, 
he bought a Referee. He became alarmed at 
the news in this, and went again to Waterloo 
Station to find out if communication were re- 
stored. The omnibuses, carriages, cyclists, 
and innumerable people walking in their best 
clothes, seemed scarcely affected by the strange 
intelligence that the newsvendors were dis- 
seminating. People were interested, or, if 
alarmed; alarmed only on account of the local 
residents. At the station he heard for the first 



122 The War of the Worlds 

time that the Windsor and Chertsey lines were 
now interrupted. The porters told him that 
several remarkable telegrams had been received 
in the morning from Byfleet and Chertsey 
Stations, but that these had abruptly ceased. 
My brother could get very little precise detail 
out of them. ' There's fighting going on about 
Weybridge,' was the extent of their information. 

The train service was now very much dis- 
organized. Quite a number of people, who 
had been expecting friends from places on the 
South-Western network, were standing about 
the station. One gray-headed old gentleman 
came and abused the South-Western Company 
bitterly to my brother. ' It wants showing up,' 
he said. 

One or two trains came in from Richmond, 
Putney, and Kingston, containing people who 
had gone out for a day's boating, and found 
the locks closed and a feeling of panic in the 
air. A man in a blue and white blazer ad- 
dressed my brother, full of strange tidings. 

' There's hosts of people driving into King- 
ston in traps and carts and things, with boxes of 
valuables and all that,' he said. ' They come 
from Molesey and Weybridge and Walton, and 
they say there's been guns heard at Chertsey, 
heavy firing, and that mounted soldiers have 



In London 123 

told them to get off at once because the Mar- 
tians are coming. We heard guns firing at 
Hampton Court Station, but we thought it was 
thunder. What the dickens does it all mean ? 
The Martians can't get out of their pit, can 
they ?' 

My brother could not tell him. 

Afterwards he found that the vague feeling 
of alarm had spread to the clients of the 
underground railway, and that the Sunday 
excursionists began to return from all the 
South-Western ' lungs ' Barnes, Wimbledon, 
Richmond Park, Kew, and so forth at un- 
naturally early hours ; but not a soul had 
anything but vague hearsay to tell of. Every- 
one connected with the terminus seemed ill- 
tempered. 

About five o'clock the gathering crowd in 
the station was immensely excited by the 
opening of the line of communication, which 
is almost invariably closed, between the South- 
Eastern and the South-Western stations, and 
the passage of carriage-trucks bearing huge 
guns, and carriages crammed with soldiers. 
These were the guns that were brought up 
from Woolwich and Chatham to cover Kingston. 
There was an exchange of pleasantries : ' You'll 
get eaten !' 4 We're the beast-tamers !' and so 



1 24 The War of the Worlds 

forth. A little while after that a squad o 
police came into the station, and began t 
clear the public off the platforms, and m 
brother went out into the street again. 

The church bells were ringing for even- 
song, and a squad of Salvation Army lasses 
came singing down Waterloo Road. On the 
bridge a number of loafers were watching a 
curious brown scum that came drifting down 
the stream in patches. The sun was just 
setting, and the Clock Tower and the Houses 
of Parliament rose against one of the most 
peaceful skies it is possible to imagine, a sky 
of gold, barred with long transverse stripes 
of reddish-purple cloud. There was talk of 
a floating body. One of the men there, a 
reservist he said he was, told my brother 
he had seen the heliograph flickering in the 
west. 

In Wellington Street my brother met a 
couple of sturdy roughs, who had just rushed 
out of Fleet Street with still wet newspapers 
and staring placards. ' Dreadful catastrophe !' 
they bawled one to the other down Wellington 
Street. ' Fighting at Weybridge ! Full de- 
scription ! Repulse of the Martians ! London 
said to be in danger !' He had to give three- 
pence for a copy of that paper. 






In London 125 

Then it was, and then only, that he realized 
something of the full power and terror of these 
monsters. He learnt that they were not merely 
a handful of small sluggish creatures, but that 
they were minds swaying vast mechanical 
bodies, and that they could move swiftly and 
smite with such power that even the mightiest 
guns could not stand against them. 

They were described as ' vast spider-like 
machines, nearly a hundred feet high, capable 
of the speed of an express train, and able to 
shoot out a beam of intense heat.' Masked 
batteries, chiefly of field-guns, had been planted 
in the country about Horsell Common, and 
especially between the Woking district and 
London. Five of the machines had been seen 
moving towards the Thames, and one, by a 
freak of chance, had been destroyed. In the 
other cases the shells had missed, and the 
batteries had been at once annihilated by the 
Heat- Rays. Heavy losses of soldiers were 
mentioned, but the tone of the despatch was 
optimistic. 

The Martians had been repulsed ; they were 
not invulnerable. They had retreated to their 
triangle of cylinders again, in the circle about 
Woking. Signallers with heliographs were 
pushing forward upon them from all sides. 



1 26 The War of the Worlds 

Guns were in rapid transit from Windsor, 
Portsmouth, Aldershot, Woolwich even froi 
the north ; among others, long wire guns of 
ninety-five tons from Woolwich. Altogethei 
one hundred and sixteen were in position 01 
being hastily laid, chiefly covering London. 
Never before in England had there been sue! 
a vast or rapid concentration of military material. 

Any further cylinders that fell, it was hoped, 
could be destroyed at once by high explosives, 
which were being rapidly manufactured and 
distributed. No doubt, ran the report, the 
situation was of the strangest and gravest 
description, but the public was exhorted to 
avoid and discourage panic. No doubt the 
Martians were strange and terrible in the 
extreme, but at the outside there could not 
be more than twenty of them against our 
millions. 

The authorities had reason to suppose, from 
the size of the cylinders, that at the outside 
there could not be more than five in each 
cylinder fifteen altogether. And one at least 
was disposed of perhaps more. The public 
would be fairly warned of the approach of 
danger, and elaborate measures were being 
taken for the protection of the people in the 
threatened south-western suburbs. And so, 



In London 



127 



with reiterated assurances of the safety of 
London, and the confidence of the authorities 
to cope with the difficulty, this quasi proclama- 
tion closed. 

This was printed in enormous type, so fresh 
that the paper was still wet, and there had been 
no time to add a word of comment. It was 
curious, my brother said, to see how ruthlessly 
the other contents of the paper had been hacked 
and taken out to give this place. 

All down Wellington Street, people could be 
seen fluttering out the pink sheets and reading, 
and the Strand was suddenly noisy with the 
voices of an army of hawkers following these 
pioneers. Men came scrambling off buses to 
secure copies. Certainly this news excited 
people intensely, whatever their previous apathy. 
The shutters of a map-shop in the Strand were 
being taken down, my brother said, and a man 
in his Sunday raiment, lemon -yellow gloves 
even, was visible inside the window, hastily 
fastening maps of Surrey to the glass. 

Going on along the Strand to Trafalgar 
Square, the paper in his hand, my brother saw 
some of the fugitives from West Surrey. 
There was a man driving a cart such as green- 
grocers use, and his wife and two boys and 
some articles of furniture. He was driving 

o 



1 28 The War of the Worlds 

from the direction of Westminster Bridge, and 
close behind him came a hay-waggon with five 
or six respectable-looking people in it, and some 
boxes and bundles. The faces of these people 
were haggard, and their entire appearance con- 
trasted conspicuously with the Sabbath-best 
appearance of the people on the omnibuses. 
People in fashionable clothing peeped at thei 
out of cabs. They stopped at the Square as il 
undecided which way to take, and finally turnec 
eastward along the Strand. Some wa-vt afte 
these came a man in work-day clothes, 'ri 
one of those old-fashioned tricycles with a small 
front- wheel. He was dirty and white in the 
face. 

My brother turned down towards Victoria, 
and met a number of such people. He had 
vague idea that he might see something of 
me. He noticed an unusual number of police 
regulating the traffic. Some of the refugees 
were exchanging news with the people on the 
omnibuses. One was professing to have seei 
the Martians. ' Boilers on stilts, I tell you, 
striding along like men.' Most of them were 
excited and animated by their strange ex- 
perience. 

Beyond Victoria the public-houses were doinj 
a lively trade with these arrivals. At all the 



In London 129 

street corners groups of people were reading 
papers, talking excitedly, or staring at these 
unusual Sunday visitors. They seemed to 
increase as night drew on, until at last the 
roads, my brother said, were like the Epsom 
High Street on a Derby Day. My brother 
addressed several of these fugitives and got 
unsatisfactory answers from most. 

None of them could tell him any news of 
Woking except one man, who assured him that 
Wok^g had been entirely destroyed on the 
previous night. 

' I come from Byfleet,' he said ; ' a man on a 
bicycle came through the place in the early 
morning, and ran from door to door warning us 
to come away. Then came soldiers. We went 
out to look, and there were clouds of smoke to 
the south nothing but smoke, and not a soul 
coming that way. Then we heard the guns at 
Chertsey, and folks coming from Weybridge. 
So I've locked up my house and come on.' 

At that time there was a strong feeling in the 
streets that the authorities were to blame for 
their incapacity to dispose of the invaders with- 
out all this inconvenience. 

About eight o'clock, a noise of heavy firing 
was distinctly audible all over the south of 
London. My brother could not hear it for the 

9 



1 30 The War of the Worlds 

traffic in the main streets, but by striking 
through the quiet back-streets to the river he 
was able to distinguish it quite plainly. 

He walked back from Westminster to his 
apartments near Regent's Park about two. He 
was now very anxious on my account, and dis- 
turbed at the evident magnitude of the trouble. 
His mind was inclined to run, even as mine 
had run on Saturday, on military details. He 
thought of all those silent expectant guns, 
of the suddenly nomadic countryside ; he tried 
to imagine ' boilers on stilts ' a hundred feet 
high. 

There were one or two cartloads of refugees 
passing along Oxford Street, and several in the 
Marylebone Road, but so slowly was the news 
spreading that Regent Street and Portland 
Road were full of their usual Sunday-night 
promenaders, albeit they talked in groups, and 
along the edge of Regent's Park there were 
as many silent couples ' walking out ' together 
under the scattered gas-lamps as ever there had 
been. The night was warm and still, and a 
little oppressive, the sound of guns continued 
intermittently, and after midnight there seemed 
to be sheet lightning in the south. 

He read and re-read the paper, fearing the 
worst had happened to me. He was restless, 



In London 131 

and after supper prowled out again aimlessly. 
He returned and tried to divert his attention by 
his examination notes in vain. He went to 
bed a little after midnight, and he was awakened 
out of some lurid dreams in the small hours of 
Monday by the sound of door-knockers, feet 
running in the street, distant drumming, and a 
clamour of bells. Red reflections danced on 
the ceiling. For a moment he lay astonished, 
wondering whether day had come or the world 
had gone mad. Then he jumped out of bed 
and ran to the window. 

His room was an attic, and as he thrust his 
head out, up and down the street there were a 
dozen echoes to the noise of his window-sash, 
and heads in every kind of night disarray 
appeared. Inquiries were being shouted. 'They 
are coming!' bawled a policeman, hammering 
at the door ; ' the Martians are coming !' and 
hurried to the next door. 

The noise of drumming and trumpeting came 
from the Albany Street Barracks, and every 
church within earshot was hard at work killing 
sleep with a vehement disorderly tocsin. There 
was a noise of doors opening, and window after 
window in the houses opposite flashed from 
darkness into yellow illumination. 

Up the street came galloping a closed car- 

92 



1 32 The War of the Worlds 

riage, bursting abruptly into noise at the corner, 
rising to a clattering climax under the window, 
and dying away slowly in the distance. Close 
on the rear of this came a couple of cabs, the 
forerunners of a long procession of flying 
vehicles, going for the most part to Chalk Farm 
Station, where the North- Western special trains 
were loading up, instead of coming down the 
gradient into Euston. 

For a long time my brother stared out of 
the window in blank astonishment, watching 
the policemen hammering at door after door, 
and delivering their incomprehensible message. 
Then the door behind him opened, and the man 
who lodged across the landing came in, dressed 
only in shirt, trousers, and slippers, his braces 
loose about his waist, his hair disordered from 
his pillow. 

' What the devil is it ?' he asked. 'A fire ? 
What a devil of a row !' 

They both craned their heads out of the 
window, straining to hear what the policemen 
were shouting. People were coming out of 
the side-streets, and standing in groups at the 
corners talking. 

' What the devil is it all about ?' said my 
brother's fellow-lodger. 

My brother answered him vaguely and began 



In London 133 

to dress, running with each garment to the 
window in order to miss nothing of the growing 
excitement of the streets. And presently men 
selling unnaturally early newspapers came bawl- 
ing into the street : 

' London in danger of suffocation ! The 
Kingston and Richmond defences forced ! 
Fearful massacres in the Thames Valley !' 

And all about him in the rooms below, in 
the houses on either side and across the road, 
and behind in the Park Terraces and in the 
hundred other streets of that part of Maryle- 
bone, and the Westbourne Park district and 
St. Pancras, and westward and northward in 
Kilburn and St. John's Wood and Hampstead, 
and eastward in Shoreditch.and Highbury and 
Haggerston and Hoxton, and, indeed, through 
all the vastness of London from Ealing to East 
Ham people were rubbing their eyes, and 
opening windows to stare out and ask aimless 
questions, and dressing hastily as the first 
breath of the coming storm of Fear blew 
through the streets. It was the dawn of the 
great panic. London, which had gone to bed 
on Sunday night stupid and inert, was awakened 
in the small hours of Monday morning to a 
vivid sense of danger. 

Unable from his window to learn what was 



1 34 The War of the Worlds 

happening, my brother went down and out into 
the street, just as the sky between the parapets 
of the houses grew pink with the early dawn. 
The flying people on foot and in vehicles grew 
more numerous every moment. ' Black Smoke !' 
he heard people crying, and again ' Black 
Smoke !' The contagion of such a unanimous 
fear was inevitable. As my brother hesitated 
on the doorstep, he saw another newsvendor 
approaching him, and got a copy forthwith. 
The man was running away with the rest, and 
selling his papers as he ran for a shilling each 
a grotesque mingling of profit and panic. 

And from this paper my brother read that 
catastrophic despatch of the Commander-in- 
Chief : 

' The Martians are able to discharge enormous 
clouds of a black and poisonous vapour by 
means of rockets. They have smothered our 
batteries, destroyed Richmond, Kingston, and 
Wimbledon, and are advancing slowly towards 
London, destroying everything on the way. It 
is impossible to stop them. There is no safety 
from the Black Smoke but in instant flight.' 

That was all, but it was enough. The whole 
population of the great six-million city was 



In London 137 

stirring, slipping, running ; presently it woulcre 
be pouring en masse northward. 

' Black Smoke !' the voices cried. ' Fire !' 

The bells of the neighbouring church made 
a jangling tumult, a cart carelessly driven 
smashed amidst shrieks and curses against the 
water-trough up the street. Sickly yellow light 
went to and fro in the houses, and some of the 
passing cabs flaunted unextinguished lamps. 
And overhead the dawn was growing brighter, 
clear and steady and calm. 

He heard footsteps running to and fro in the 
rooms, and up and down stairs behind him. 
His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped 
in dressing-gown and shawl ; her husband fol- 
lowed, ejaculating. 

As my brother began to realize the import of 
all these things, he turned hastily to his own 
room, put all his available money some ten 
pounds altogether into his pockets, and went 
out again into the streets. 



'34 



XV. 

WHAT HAD HAPPENED IN SURREY. 

IT was while the curate had sat and talked so 
wildly to me under the hedge in the flat 
meadows near Halliford, and while my brother 
was watching the fugitives stream over West- 
minster Bridge, that the Martians had resumed 
the offensive. So far as one can ascertain from 
the conflicting accounts that have been put 
forth, the majority of them remained busied 
with preparations in the Horsell pit until nine 
that night, hurrying on some operation that dis- 
engaged huge volumes of green smoke. 

But three certainly came out about eight 
o'clock, and, advancing slowly and cautiously, 
made their way through Byfleet and Pyrford 
towards Ripley and Weybridge, and so came in 
sight of the expectant batteries against the 
setting sun. These Martians did not advance 
in a body, but in a line, each perhaps a mile and 
a half from his nearest fellow. They communi- 
cated with each other by means of siren-like 



What had happened in Surrey 137 

howls, running up and down the scale from one 
note to another. 

It was this howling and the firing of the guns 
at Ripley and St. George's Hill that we had 
heard at Upper Halliford. The Ripley gunners, 
unseasoned artillery volunteers who ought never 
to have been placed in such a position, fired one 
wild, premature, ineffectual volley, and bolted 
on horse and foot through the deserted village, 
and the Martian walked over their guns serenely 
without using his Heat-Ray, stepped gingerly 
among them, passed in front of them, and so 
came unexpectedly upon the guns in Painshill 
Park, which he destroyed. 

The St. George's Hill men, however, were 
better led or of a better mettle. Hidden by a 
pine-wood as they were, they seem to have 
been quite unexpected by the Martian nearest 
to them. They laid their guns as deliberately 
as if they had been on parade, and fired at about 
a thousand yards' range. 

The shells flashed all round the Martian, and 
they saw him advance a few paces, stagger, and 
go down. Everybody yelled together, and the 
guns were reloaded in frantic haste. The 
overthrown Martian set up a prolonged ulula- 
tion, and immediately a second glittering giant, 
answering him, appeared over the trees to the 



1 3 8 The War of the Worlds 

south. It would seem that a leg of the tripod 
had been smashed by one of the shells. The 
whole of the second volley flew wide of the 
Martian on the ground, and simultaneously 
both his companions brought their Heat- Rays 
to bear on the battery. The ammunition blew 
up, the pine-trees all about the guns flashed 
into fire, and only one or two of the men who 
were already running over the crest of the hill 
escaped. 

After this it would seem that the three took 
counsel together and halted, and the scouts who 
were watching them report that they remained 
absolutely stationary for the next half-hour. 
The Martian who had been overthrown crawled 
tediously out of his hood, a small brown figure, 
oddly suggestive from that distance of a speck 
of blight, and apparently engaged in the repair 
of his support. About nine he had finished, 
for his cowl was then seen above the trees 
again. 

It was a few minutes past nine that night 
when these three sentinels were joined by four 
other Martians, each carrying a thick black 
tube. A similar tube was handed to each 
of the three, and the seven proceeded to dis- 
tribute themselves at equal distances along a 
curved line between St. George's Hill, Wey- 



What had happened in Surrey 1 39 

bridge, and the village of Send, south-west of 
Ripley. 

A dozen rockets sprang out of the hills before 
them so soon as they began to move, and warned 
the waiting batteries about Ditton and Esher. 
At the same time four of their Fighting Machines, 
similarly armed with tubes, crossed the river, 
and two of them, black against the western sky, 
came into sight of myself and the curate as we 
hurried wearily and painfully along the road 
that runs northward out of Halliford. They 
moved, as it seemed to us, upon a cloud, for 
i milky mist covered the fields and rose to a 
nird of their height. 

At this sight the curate cried faintly in his 
throat, and began running ; but I knew it was 
no good running from a Martian, and I turned 
aside and crawled through dewy nettles and 
brambles into the broad ditch by the side of 
the road. He looked back, saw what I was 
doing, and turned to join me. 

The two Martians halted, the nearer to us 
standing and facing Sunbury, the remoter being 
a gray indistinctness towards the evening star, 
away towards Staines. 

The occasional howling of the Martians had 
ceased ; they took up their positions in the 
huge crescent about their cylinders in absolute 



140 The War of the Worlds 

silence. It was a crescent with twelve miles 
between its horns. Never since the devising 
of gunpowder was the beginning of a battle so 
still. To us and to an observer about Ripley 
it would have had precisely the same effect 
the Martians seemed in solitary possession of 
the darkling night, lit only as it was by the 
slender moon, the stars, the after-glow of the 
daylight, and the ruddy glare from St. George's 
Hill and the woods of Painshill. 

But facing that crescent everywhere, at 
Staines, Hounslow, Ditton, Esher, Ockham, 
behind hills and woods south of the river, and 
across the flat grass meadows to the north of it, 
wherever a cluster of trees or village houses 
gave sufficient cover, the guns were waiting. 
The signal rockets burst and rained their sparks 
through the night and vanished, and the spirit 
of all those watching batteries rose to a tense 
expectation. The Martians had but to advance 
into the line of fire, and instantly those motion- 
less black forms of men, those guns glittering 
so darkly in the early night, would explode into 
a thunderous fury of battle. 

No doubt the thought that was uppermost in 
a thousand of those vigilant minds, even as it 
was uppermost in mine, was the riddle how 
much they understood of us. Did they grasp 



What had happened in Surrey 141 

that we in our millions were organized, disci- 
plined, working together ? Or did they inter- 
pret our spurts of fire, the sudden stinging of 
our shells, our steady investment of their 
encampment, as we should the furious unanimity 
of onslaught in a disturbed hive of bees ? Did 
they dream they might exterminate us ? (At 
that time no one knew what food they needed.) 
A hundred such questions struggled together in 
my mind as I watched that vast sentinel shape. 
And in the back of my mind was the sense 
of all the huge unknown and hidden forces 
London ward. Had they prepared pitfalls ? 
Were the powder-mills at Hounslow ready as a 
snare ? Would the Londoners have the heart 
and courage to make a greater Moscow of their 
mighty province of houses ? 

Then, after an interminable time as it seemed 
to us, crouching and peering through the hedge, 
came a sound like the distant concussion of a 
gun. Another nearer, and then another. And 
then the Martian beside us raised his tube on 
high and discharged it gunwise, with a heavy 
''report that made the ground heave. The 
Martian towards Staines answered him. There 
was no flash, no smoke, simply that loaded 
detonation. 

I was so excited by these heavy minute-guns 



142 The War of the Worlds 

following one another that I so far forgot my 
personal safety and my scalded hands as to 
clamber up into the hedge and stare towards 
Sunbury. As I did so a second report followed, 
and a big projectile hurtled overhead towards 
Hounslow. I expected at least to see smoke 
or fire or some such evidence of its work. But 
all I saw was the deep-blue sky above, with one 
solitary star, and the white mist spreading wide 
and low beneath. And there had been no 
crash, no answering explosion. The silence 
was restored ; the minute lengthened to three. 

' What has happened ?' said the curate, stand- 
ing up beside me. 

' Heaven knows !' said I. 

A bat flickered by and vanished. A distant 
tumult of shouting began and ceased. I looked 
again at the Martian, and saw he was now 
moving eastward along the river-bank, with a 
swift rolling motion. 

Every moment I expected the fire of some 
hidden battery to spring upon him ; but the 
evening calm was unbroken. The figure of the 
Martian grew smaller as he receded, and 
presently the mist and the gathering night had 
swallowed him up. By a common impulse we 
clambered higher. Towards Sunbury was a 
dark appearance, as though a conical hill had 



What had happened in Surrey 143 

suddenly come into being there, hiding our 
view of the further country ; and then, remoter 
across the river, over Walton, we saw another 
such summit. These hill-like forms grew lower 
and broader even as we stared. 

Moved by a sudden thought, I looked north- 
ward, and there I perceived a third of these 
cloudy black kopjes had arisen. 

Everything had suddenly become very still. 
Far away to the south-east, marking the quiet, 
we heard the Martians hooting to one another, 
and then the air quivered again with the distant 
thud of their guns. But the earthly artillery 
made no reply. 

Now, at the time we could not understand 
these things ; but later I was to learn the mean- 
ing of these ominous kopjes that gathered in 
the twilight. Each of the Martians, standing 
in the great crescent I have described, had dis- 
charged at some unknown signal, by means of 
the gun-like tube he carried, a huge canister 
over whatever hill, copse, cluster of houses, or 
other possible cover for guns, chanced to be in 
-front of him. Some fired only one of these, 
some two, as in the case of the one we had 
seen ; the one at Ripley is said to have dis- 
charged no fewer than five at that time. * These 
canisters smashed on striking the ground they 



144 The War of the Worlds 

did not explode and incontinently disengaged 
an enormous volume of a heavy inky vapour, 
coiling and pouring upwards in a huge and 
ebony cumulus cloud, a gaseous hill that sank 
and spread itself slowly over the surrounding 
country. And the touch of that vapour, the in- 
haling of its pungent wisps, was death to all 
that breathes. 

It was heavy, this vapour, heavier than the 
densest smoke, so that, after the first tumultuous 
uprush and outflow of its impact, it sank down 
through the air and poured over the ground in 
a manner rather liquid than gaseous, abandon- 
ing the hills, and streaming into the valleys and 
ditches and water-courses'even as I have heard 
the carbonic acid gas that pours from volcanic 
clefts is wont to do. And where it came upon 
water some chemical action occurred, and the 
surface would be instantly covered with a 
powdery scum that sank slowly and made way 
for more. The scum was absolutely insoluble, 
and it is a strange thing, seeing the instant 
effect of the gas, that one could drink the water 
from which it had been strained without hurt. 
The vapour did not diffuse as a true gas would 
do. It hung together in banks, flowing slug- 
gishly down the slope of the land and driving 
reluctantly before the wind, and very slowly it 



What had happened in Surrey 145 

combined with the mist and moisture of the air, 
and sank to the earth in the form of dust. 
Save that an unknown element giving a group 
of four lines in the blue of the spectrum is con- 
cerned, we are still entirely ignorant of the 
nature of this substance. 

Once the tumultuous upheaval of its disper- 
sion was over, the black smoke clung so closely 
to the ground, even before its precipitation, 
that, fifty feet up in the air, on the roofs and 
upper stories of high houses and on great trees, 
there was a chance of escaping its poison 
altogether, as was proved even that night at 
Street Cobham and Ditton. 

The man who escaped at the former place 
tells a wonderful story of the strangeness of its 
coiling flow, and how he looked down from the 
church spire and saw the houses of the village 
rising like ghosts out of its inky nothingness. 
For a day and a half he remained there, weary, 
starving, and sun-scorched, the earth under the 
blue sky and against the prospect of the distant 
hills a velvet black expanse, with red roofs, 
^green trees, and, later, black-veiled shrubs and 
gates, barns, outhouses, and walls, rising here 
and there into the sunlight. 

But that was at Street Cobham, where the 
black vapour was allowed to remain until it 

10 



146 The War of the Worlds 

sank of its own accord into the ground. As a 

o 

rule, the Martians, when it had served its 
purpose, cleared the air of it agaki by wading 
into it and directing a jet of steam upon it. 

That they did with the vapour-banks near 
us, as we saw in the starlight from the window 
of a deserted house at Upper Halliford, whither 
we had returned. From there we could see 
the searchlights on Richmond Hill and Kings- 
ton Hill going to and fro, and about eleven 
the window rattled, and we heard the sound of 
the huge siege guns that had been put in posi- 
tion there. These continued intermittently for 
the space of a quarter of an hour, sending 
chance shots at the invisible Martians at 
Hampton and Ditton, and then the pale beams 
of the electric light vanished, and were replaced 
by a bright red glow. 

Then the fourth cylinder fell a brilliant 
green meteor as I learnt afterwards, in 
Bushey Park. Before the guns on the Rich- 
mond and Kingston line of hills began, there 
was a fitful cannonade far away in the south- 
west, due, I believe, to guns being fired hap- 
hazard before the black vapour could overwhelm 
the gunners. 

So, setting about it as methodically as men 
might smoke out a wasps' nest, the Martians 



What had happened in Surrey 147 

spread this strange stifling vapour over the 
Londonward country. The horns of the 
crescent slowly spread apart, until at last they 
formed a line from Han well to Coombe and 
Maiden. All night through their destructive 
tubes advanced. Never once, after the Martian 
at St. George's Hill was brought down, did they 
give the artillery the ghost of a chance against 
them. Wherever there was a possibility of 
guns being laid for them unseen, a fresh canister 
of the black vapour was discharged, and where 
the guns were openly displayed the Heat- Ray 
was brought to bear. 

By midnight the blazing trees along the 
slopes of Richmond Park, and the glare of 
Kingston Hill, threw their light upon a net- 
work of black smoke, blotting out the whole 
Valley of the Thames, and extending as far as 
the eye could reach. And through this two 
Martians slowly waded, and turned their hissing 
steam -jets this way and that. 

The Martians were sparing of the Heat- Ray 
that night, either because they had but a limited 
supply of material for its production, or because 
they did not wish to destroy the country, but 
only to crush and overawe the opposition they 
had aroused. In the latter aim they certainly 
succeeded. Sunday night was the end of the 

10 2 



148 The War of the Worlds 

organized opposition to their movements. After 
that no body of men could stand against them, 
so hopeless was the enterprise. Even the 
crews of the torpedo boats and destroyers that 
had brought their quick-firers up the Thames 
refused to stop, mutinied, and went down again. 
The only offensive operation men ventured 
upon after that night was the preparation of 
mines and pitfalls, and even in that men's 
energies were frantic and spasmodic. 

One has to imagine the fate of those batteries 
towards Esher, waiting so tensely in the twilight, 
as well as one may. Survivors there were none. 
One may picture the orderly expectation, the 
officers alert and watchful, the gunners ready, 
the ammunition piled to hand, the limber gun- 
ners with their horses and waggons, the groups 
of civilian spectators standing as near as they 
were permitted, the evening stillness ; the 
ambulances and hospital tents, with the burnt 
and wounded from Weybridge ; then the dull 
resonance of the shots the Martians fired, and 
the clumsy projectile whirling over the trees 
and houses, and smashing amidst the neigh- 
bouring fields. 

One may picture, too, the sudden shifting of 
the attention, the swiftly spreading coils and 
bellyings of that blackness advancing head- 



What had happened in Surrey 149 

long, towering heavenward, turning the twilight 
to a palpable darkness, a strange and horrible 
antagonist of vapour striding upon its victims, 
men and horses near it seen dimly, running, 
shrieking, falling headlong, shouts of dismay, 
the guns suddenly abandoned, men choking 
and writhing on the ground, and the swift 
broadening out of the opaque cone of smoke. 
And then, night and extinction nothing but 
a silent mass of impenetrable vapour hiding 
its dead. 

Before dawn the black vapour was pouring 
through the streets of Richmond, and the dis- 
integrating organism of government was, with 
a last expiring effort, rousing the population of 
London to the necessity of flight. 



XVI. 

THE EXODUS FROM LONDON. 

So you understand the roaring wave of fear 
that swept through the greatest city in the 
world just as Monday was dawning the stream 
of flight rising swiftly to a torrent, lashing in a 
foaming tumult round the railway - stations, 
banked up into a horrible struggle about the 
shipping in the Thames, and hurrying by 
every available channel northward and east- 
ward. By ten o'clock the police organiza- 
tion, and by mid-day even the railway or- 
ganizations, were losing coherency, losing 
shape and efficiency,' guttering, softening, run- 
ning at last in that swift liquefaction of the 
social body. 

All the railway lines north of the Thames 
and the South - Eastern people at Cannon 
Street had been warned by midnight on Sun- 
day, and trains were being filled, people were 
fighting savagely for standing - room in the 
carriages, even at two o'clock. By three people 



The Exodus from London 151 

were being trampled and crushed even in 
Bishopsgate Street ; a couple of hundred yards 
or more from Liverpool Street Station revolvers 
were fired, people stabbed, and the police- 
men who had been sent to direct the traffic, 
exhausted and infuriated, were breaking the 
heads of the people they were called out to 
protect. 

And as the day advanced and the engine- 
drivers and stokers refused to return to London, 
the pressure of the flight drove the people in 
an ever-thickening multitude away from the 
stations and along the northward-running roads. 
By mid-day a Martian had been seen at Barnes, 
and a cloud of slowly sinking black vapour 
drove along the Thames and across the flats of 
Lambeth, cutting off all escape over the bridges 
in its sluggish advance. Another bank drove 
over Ealing, and surrounded a little island of 
survivors on Castle Hill, alive, but unable to 
escape. 

After a fruitless struggle to get aboard 
^a North-Western train at Chalk Farm the 
engines of the trains that had loaded in the 
goods yard there ploughed through shrieking 
people, and a dozen stalwart men fought to 
keep the crowd from crushing the driver 
against his furnace my brother emerged upon 



152 The War of the Worlds 

the Chalk Farm Road, dodged across through 
a hurrying swarm of vehicles, and had the luck 
to be foremost in the sack of a cycle shop. The 
front tyre of the machine he got was punctured 
in dragging it through the window, but he got 
up and off, notwithstanding, with no further 
injury than a cut wrist. The steep foot of 
Haverstock Hill was impassable owing to 
several overturned horses, and my brother 
struck into Belsize Road. 

So he got out of the fury of the panic, and, 
skirting the Edgware Road, reached Edgware 
about seven, fasting and wearied, but well 
ahead of the crowd. Along the road people 
were standing in the roadway curious, wonder- 
ing. He was passed by a number of cyclists, 
some horsemen, and two motor-cars. A mile 
from Edgware the rim of the wheel broke, and 
the machine became unrideable. He left it by 
the roadside and trudged through the village. 
There were shops half opened in the main 
street of the place, and people crowded on the 
pavement and in the doorways and windows, 
staring astonished at this extraordinary proces- 
sion of fugitives that was beginning. He suc- 
ceeded in getting some food at an inn. 

For a time he remained in Edgware, not 
knowing what next to do. The flying people 



The Exodus from London 153 

increased in number. Many of them, like 
my brother, seemed inclined to stop in the 
place. There was no fresh news of the in- 
vaders from Mars. 

At that time the road was crowded, but as 
yet far from congested. Most of the fugitives 
at that hour were mounted on cycles, but there 
were soon motor - cars, hansom cabs, and 
carriages hurrying along, and the dust hung in 
heavy clouds along the road to St. Albans. 

It was perhaps a vague idea of making his way 
to Chelmsford, where some friends of his lived, 
that at last induced my brother to strike into a 
quiet lane running eastward. Presently he came 
upon a stile, and, crossing it, followed a foot- 
path north-eastward. He passed near several 
farm-houses and some little places whose names 
he did not learn. He saw few fugitives until, 
in a grass lane towards High Barnet, he hap- 
pened upon the two ladies who became his 
fellow-travellers. He came upon them just in 
time to save them. 

He heard their screams, and, hurrying round 
the corner, saw a couple of men struggling to 
drag them out of the little pony-chaise in which 
they had been driving, while a third with diffi- 
culty held the frightened pony's head. One of 
the ladies, a short woman dressed in white, was 



1 54 The War of the Worlds 

simply screaming ; the other, a dark, slender 
figure, slashed at the man who gripped her 
arm with a whip she held in her disengaged 
hand. 

My brother immediately grasped the situa- 
tion, shouted, and hurried towards the struggle. 
One of the men desisted and turned towards 
him, and my brother, realizing from his antago- 
nist's face that a fight was unavoidable, and 
being an expert boxer, went into him forthwith, 
and sent him down against the wheel of the 
chaise. 

It was no time for pugilistic chivalry, and my 
brother laid him quiet with a kick, and gripped 
the collar of the man who pulled at the slender 
lady's arm. He heard the clatter of hoofs, the 
whip stung across his face, a third antagonist 
struck him between the eyes, and the man he 
held wrenched himself free and made off down 
the lane in the direction from which he had 
come. 

Partly stunned, he found himself facing the 
man who had held the horse's head, and became 
aware of the chaise receding from him down 
the lane, swaying from side to side and with 
the women in it looking back. The man before 
him, a burly rough, tried to close, and he 
stopped him with a blow in the face. Then, 



The Exodus from London 155 

realizing that he was deserted, he dodged round 
and made off down the lane after the chaise, 
with the sturdy man close behind him, and the 
fugitive, who had turned now, following re- 
motely. 

Suddenly he stumbled and fell : his imme- 
diate pursuer went headlong, and he rose to his 
feet to find himself with a couple of antagonists 
again. He would have had little chance against 
them had not the slender lady very pluckily 
pulled up and returned to his help. It seems 
she had had a revolver all this time, but it 
had been under the seat when she and her 
companion were attacked. She fired at six 
yards' distance, narrowly missing my brother. 
The less courageous of the robbers made off, 
and his companion followed him, cursing 
his cowardice. They both stopped in sight 
down the lane, where the third man lay insen- 
sible. 

' Take this !' said the slender lady, and gave 
my brother her revolver. 

' Go back to the chaise,' said my brother, 
wiping the blood from his split lip. 

She turned without a word they were both 
panting and they went back to where the 
lady in white struggled to hold back the fright- 
ened pony. 



1 56 The War of the Worlds 

The robbers had evidently had enough of it. 
When my brother looked again they were 
retreating. 

' I'll sit here/ said my brother, ' if I may ;' 
and he got up on the empty front-seat. The 
lady looked over her shoulder. 

'Give me the reins/ she said, and laid the 
whip along the pony's side. In another 
moment a bend in the road hid the three men 
from my brother's eyes. 

So, quite unexpectedly, my brother found 
himself, panting, with a cut mouth, a bruised 
jaw and blood-stained knuckles, driving along 
an unknown lane with these two women. 

He learnt they were the wife and the younger 
sister of a surgeon living at Stanmore, who had 
come in the small hours from a dangerous case 
at Pinner, and heard at some railway-station on 
his way of the Martian advance. He had 
hurried home, roused the women their servant 
had left them two days before packed some 
provisions, put his revolver under the seat 
luckily for my brother and told them to 
drive on to Edgware, with the idea of getting 
a train there. He stopped behind to tell 
the neighbours. He would overtake them, he 
said, at about half-past four in the morning, 
and now it was nearly nine and they had seen 






The Exodus from London 157 

nothing of him since. They could not stop in 
Edgware because of the growing traffic through 
the place, and so they had come into this side- 
lane. 

That was the story they told my brother in 
fragments when presently they stopped again, 
nearer to New Barnet. He promised to stay 
with them at least until they could determine 
what to do, or until the missing man arrived, 
and professed to be an expert shot with the 
revolver a weapon strange to him in order 
to give them confidence. 

They made a sort of encampment by the way- 
side, and the pony became happy in the hedge. 
He told them of his own escape out of London, 
and all that he knew of these Martians and 
their ways. The sun crept higher in the sky, 
and after a time their talk died out and gave place 
to an uneasy state of anticipation. Several way- 
farers came along the lane, and of these my 
brother gathered such news as he could. Every 
broken answer he had deepened his impression 
of the great disaster that had come on humanity, 
'deepened his persuasion of the immediate neces- 
sity for prosecuting this flight. He urged the 
matter upon them. 

' We have money,' said the slender woman, 
and hesitated. 



1 5 8 The War of the Worlds 

Her eyes met my brother's and her hesita- 
tion ended. 

' So have I,' said my brother. 

She explained that they had as much as thirty 
pounds in gold besides a five-pound note, and 
suggested that with that they might get upon 
a train at St. Albans or New Barnet. My 
brother thought that was hopeless, seeing the 
fury of the Londoners to crowd upon the 
trains, and broached his own idea of striking 
across Essex towards Harwich and thence 
escaping from the country altogether. 

Mrs. Elphinstone that was the name of the 
woman in white would listen to no reasoning, 
and kept calling upon ' George ;' but her sister- 
in-law was astonishingly quiet and deliberate, 
and at last agreed to my brother's suggestion. 
So they went on towards Barnet, designing to 
cross the Great North Road, my brother 
leading the pony to save it as much as 
possible. 

As the sun crept up the sky the day 
became excessively hot, and under foot a thick 
whitish sand grew burning and blinding, so that 
they travelled only very slowly. The hedges 
were gray with dust. And as they advanced 
towards Barnet, a tumultuous murmuring grew 
stronger. 






The Exodus from London 159 

They began to meet more people. For the 
most part these were staring before them, 
murmuring indistinct questions, jaded, haggard, 
unclean. One man in evening dress passed 
them on foot, his eyes on the ground. They 
heard his voice, and, looking back at him, saw 
one hand clutched in his hair and the other 
beating invisible things. His paroxysm of 
rage over, he went on his way without once 
looking back. 

As my brother's party went on towards the 
cross-roads to the south of Barnet, they saw a 
woman approaching the road across some 
fields on their left, carrying a child and with 
two other children, and then a man in dirty 
black, with a thick stick in one hand and a 
small portmanteau in the other, passed. Then 
round the corner of the lane, from between 
the villas that guarded it at its confluence with 
the highroad, came a little cart drawn by a 
sweating black pony and driven by a sallow 
youth in a bowler hat, gray with dust. There 
were three girls like East End factory girls, 
and a couple of little children, crowded in the 
cart. 

' This'll tike us rahnd Edgware ?' asked the 
driver, wild-eyed, white-faced ; and when my 
brother told him it would if he turned to the 



160 The War of the Worlds 

left, he whipped up at once without the formality 
of thanks. 

My brother noticed a pale gray smoke or 
haze rising among the houses in front of them, 
and veiling the white faade of a terrace beyond 
the road that appeared between the backs of the 
villas. Mrs. Elphinstone suddenly cried out at a 
number of tongues of smoky red flame leaping 
up above the houses in front of them against 
the hot blue sky. The tumultuous noise 
resolved itself now into the disorderly mingling 
of many voices, the gride of many wheels, the 
creaking of waggons, and the staccato of hoofs. 
The lane came round sharply not fifty yards 
from the cross-roads. 

' Good heavens !' cried Mrs. Elphinstone. 
' What is this you are driving us into ?' 

My brother stopped. 

For^the main road was a boiling stream ol 
people, a torrent of human beings rushing 
northward, one pressing on another. A great 
bank of dust, white and luminous in the blaze 
of the sun, made everything within twenty feet 
of the ground gray and indistinct, and was per- 
petually renewed by the hurrying feet of a 
dense crowd of horses and men and women on 
foot, and by the wheels of vehicles of every 
description/ 



The Exodus from London 161 

' Way !' my brother heard voices crying. 
' Make way !' 

It was like riding into the smoke of a fire to 
approach the meeting-point of the lane and 
road; the crowd roared like a fire, and the dust 
was hot and pungent. And, indeed, a little 
way up the road a villa was burning and send- 
ing rolling masses of black smoke across the 
road to add to the confusion. 

Two men came past them. Then a dirty 
woman carrying a heavy bundle and weeping. 
A lost retriever dog with hanging tongue circled 
dubiously round them, scared and wretched, and 
fled at my brother's threat. 

So much as they could see of the road 
Londonward between the houses to the right, 
was a tumultuous stream of dirty, hurrying 
people pent in between the villas on either 
side ; the black heads, the crowded forms, 
grew into distinctness as they rushed towards 
the corner, hurried past, and merged their 
individuality again in a receding multitude 
that was swallowed up at last in a cloud of 
jdust. 

' Go on ! Go on !' cried the voices. ' Way ! 
Way!' 

One man's hands pressed on the back of 
another. My brother stood at the pony's head. 

ii 



1 62 The War of the Worlds 

irresistibly attracted, he advanced slowly, pace 
by pace, down the lane. 

Edgware had been a scene of confusion, 
Chalk Farm a riotous tumult, but this was a 
whole population in movement. It is hard to 
imagine that host. It had no character of its 
own. The figures poured out past the corner, 
and receded with their backs to the group in 
the lane. Along the margin came those who 
were on foot, threatened by the wheels, stum- 
bling in the ditches, blundering into one 
another. 

The carts and carnages crowded close upon 
one another, making little way for those swifter 
and more impatient vehicles that darted forward 
every now and then when an opportunity 
showed itself of doing so, sending the people 
scattering against the fences and gates of the 
villas. 

' Push on !' was the cry. ' Push on ! they are 
coming !' 

In one cart stood a blind man in the uniform 
of the Salvation Army, gesticulating with his 
crooked fingers and bawling, 'Eternity! eternity!' 
His voice was hoarse and very loud, so that my 
brother could hear him long after he was lost to 
sight in the southward dust. Some of the 
people who crowded in the carts whipped 



The Exodus from London 163 

stupidly at their horses and quarrelled with 
other drivers ; some sat motionless, staring at 
nothing with miserable eyes ; some gnawed 
their hands with thirst or lay prostrate in the 
bottoms of their conveyances. The horses' bits 
were covered with foam, their eyes bloodshot. 

There were cabs, carriages, shop - carts, 
waggons, beyond counting ; a mail-cart, a road- 
cleaner's cart marked ' Vestry of St. Pancras,' a 
huge timber-waggon crowded with roughs. A 
brewer's dray rumbled by with its two near 
wheels splashed with recent blood. 

' Clear the way !' cried the voices. ' Clear 
the way !' 

' Eter nity ! eter nity !' came echoing up 
the road. 

There were sad, haggard women tramping 
by, well dressed, with children that cried and 
stumbled, their dainty clothes smothered in 
dust, their weary faces smeared with tears. 
With many of these came men, sometimes help- 
ful, sometimes lowering and savage. Fighting 
side by side with them pushed some weary 
street outcast in faded black rags, wide-eyed, 
loud-voiced, and foul-mouthed. There were 
sturdy workmen thrusting their way along, 
wretched unkempt men clothed like clerks or 
shopmen, struggling spasmodically, a wounded 

II 2 



1 64 The War of the Worlds 

soldier my brother noticed, men dressed in the 
clothes of railway porters, one wretched 
creature in a night-shirt with a coat thrown 
over it. 

But, varied as its composition was, certain 
things all that host had in common. There 
was fear and pain on their faces, and fear 
behind them. A tumult up the road, a quarrel 
for a place in a waggon, sent the whole host of 
them quickening their pace ; even a man so 
scared and broken that his knees bent under 
him was galvanized for a moment into renewed 
activity. The heat and dust had already been 
at work upon this multitude. Their skins were 
dry, their lips black and cracked. They were 
all thirsty, weary, and footsore. And amid the 
various cries one heard disputes, reproaches, 
groans of weariness and fatigue ; the voices of 
most of them were hoarse and weak. Through 
it all ran a refrain : 

' Way ! way ! The Martians are coming !' 
Few stopped and came aside from that flood. 
The lane opened slantingly into the main road 
with a narrow opening, and had a delusive 
appearance of coming from the direction of 
London. Yet a kind of eddy of people drove 
into its mouth ; weaklings elbowed out of the 
stream, who for the most part rested but a 



The Exodus from London 165 

moment before plunging into it again. A little 
way down the lane, with two friends bending 
over him, lay a man with a bare leg, wrapped 
about with bloody rags. He was a lucky man 
to have friends. 

A little old man, with a gray military mous- 
tache and a filthy black frock-coat, limped out 
and sat down beside the trap, removed his boot 
his sock was blood-stained shook out a 
pebble, and hobbled on again ; and then a 
little girl of eight or nine, all alone, threw 
herself under the hedge close by my brother, 
weeping. 

' I can't go on ! I can't go on !' 

My brother woke from his torpor of astonish- 
ment, and lifted her up, speaking gently to her, 
and carried her to Miss Elphinstone. So soon 
as my brother touched her she became quite 
still, as if frightened. 

' Ellen !' shrieked a woman in the crowd, 
with tears in her voice. ' Ellen !' And the 
child suddenly darted away from my brother, 
crying : ' Mother !' 

' They are coming,' said a man on horseback, 
riding past along the lane. 

1 Out of the way, there !' bawled a coachman, 
towering high ; and my brother saw a closed 
carriage turning into the lane. 



1 66 The War of the Worlds 

The people crushed back on one another to 
avoid the horse. My brother pushed the pony 
and chaise back into the hedge, and the man 
drove by and stopped at the turn of the way. It 
was a carriage, with a pole for a pair of horses, 
but only one was in the traces. 

My brother saw dimly through the dust that 
two men lifted out something on a white 
stretcher, and put this gently on the grass 
beneath the privet hedge. 

One of the men came running to my 
brother. 

' Where is there any water ?' he said. ' He 
is dying fast, and very thirsty. It is Lord 
Garrick.' 

4 Lord Garrick !' said my brother, ' the Chief 
Justice ?' 

' The water ?' he said. 

' There may be a tap,' said my brother, ' in 
some of the houses. We have no water. I 
dare not leave my people.' 

The man pushed against the crowd towards 
the gate of the corner house. 

' Go on !' said the people, thrusting at him. 
' They are coming ! Go on !' 

Then my brother's attention was distracted 
by a bearded, eagle-faced man lugging a small 
hand-bag, which split even as my brother's eyes 






The Exodus from London 167 

rested on it, and disgorged a mass of sovereigns 
that seemed to break up into separate coins as 
it struck the ground. They rolled hither and 
thither among the struggling feet of men and 
horses. The man stopped, and looked stupidly 
at the heap, and the shaft of a cab struck his 
shoulder and sent him reeling. He gave a 
shriek and dodged back, and a cartwheel shaved 
him narrowly. 

' Way !' cried the men all about him. ' Make 
way !' 

So soon as the cab had passed, he flung him- 
self, with both hands open, upon the heap of 
coins, and began clutching handfuls in his 
pockets. A horse rose close upon him, and in 
another moment he had half risen, and had 
been borne down under the horse's hoofs. 

' Stop !' screamed my brother, and, pushing a 
woman out of his way, tried to clutch the bit of 
the horse. 

Before he could get to it, he heard a scream 
under the wheels, and saw through the dust the 
rim passing over the poor wretch's back. The 
driver of the cart slashed his whip at my 
brother, who ran round behind the cart. The 
multitudinous shouting confused his ears. The 
man was writhing in the dust among his scattered 
money, unable to rise, for the wheel had broken 



1 68 The War of the Worlds 

his back, and his lower limbs lay limp and dead. 
My brother stood up and yelled at the next 
driver, and a man on a black horse came to his 
assistance. 

' Get him out of the road,' said he ; and, 
clutching the man's collar with his free hand, 
my brother lugged him sideways. But he still 
clutched after his money, and regarded my 
brother fiercely, hammering at his arm with a 
handful of gold. ' Go on ! Go on !' shouted 
angry voices behind. ' Way ! Way !' 

There was a smash as the pole of a carriage 
crashed into the cart that the man on horseback 
stopped. My brother looked up, and the man 
with the gold twisted his head round and bit 
the wrist that held his collar. There was a 
concussion, and the black horse came stagger- 
ing sideways, and the cart-horse pushed beside 
it. A hoof missed my brother's foot by a hair's 
breadth. He released his grip on the fallen 
man and jumped back. He saw anger change 
to terror on the face of the poor wretch on the 
ground, and in a moment he was hidden and 
my brother was borne backward and carried past 
the entrance of the lane, and had to fight hard 
in the torrent to recover it. 

He saw Miss Elphinstone covering her eyes, 
and a little child, with all a child's want of 



The Exodus from London 169 

sympathetic imagination, staring with dilated 
eyes at a dusty something that lay black and 
still, ground and crushed under the rolling 
wheels. ' Let us go back !' he shouted, and 
began turning the pony round. ' We cannot 
cross this hell,' he said ; and they went back 
a hundred yards the way they had come, until 
the fighting crowd was hidden. As they passed 
the bend in the lane, my brother saw the face 
of the dying man in the ditch under the privet, 
deadly white and drawn, and shining with per- 
spiration. The two women sat silent, crouching 
in their seats and shivering. 

Then beyond the bend my brother stopped 
again. Miss Elphinstone was white and 
pale, and her sister-in-law sat weeping, too 
wretched even to call upon ' George.' My 
brother was horrified and perplexed. So soon 
as they had retreated, he realized how urgent 
and unavoidable it was to attempt this cross- 
ing. He turned to Miss Elphinstone suddenly, 
resolute. 

' We must gel that way,' he said, and led 
the pony round again. 

For the second time that day this girl proved 
her quality. To force their way into the tor- 
rent of people, my brother plunged into the 
traffic and held back a cab-horse, while she 



170 The War of the Worlds 

drove the pony across its head. A waggon 
locked wheels for a moment, and ripped a 
long splinter from the chaise. In another 
moment they were caught and swept forward 
by the stream. My brother, with the cabman's 
whip-marks red across his face and hands, 
scrambled into the chaise, and took the reins 
from her. 

' Point the revolver at the man behind/ he 
said, giving it to her, 'if he presses us too 
hard. No ! point it at his horse.' 

Then he began to look out for a chance 
of edging to the right across the road. But 
once in the stream, he seemed to lose volition, 
to become a part of that dusty rout. They 
swept through Chipping Barnet with the tor- 
rent ; they were nearly a mile beyond the 
centre of the town before they had fought 
across to the opposite side of the way. It was 
din and confusion indescribable ; but in and 
beyond the town the road forks repeatedly, and 
this to some extent relieved the stress. 

They struck eastward through Hadley, and 
there on either side of the road, and at another 
place further on, they came upon a great multi- 
tude of people drinking at the stream, some 
fighting to come at the water. And further on, 
from a hill near East Barnet, they saw tw( 



The Exodus from London 171 

trains running slowly one after the other with- 
out signal or order trains swarming with 
people, with men even among the coals behind 
the engines going northward along the Great 
Northern Railway. My brother supposes they 
must have filled outside London, for at that 
time the .furious terror of the people had 
rendered the central termini impossible. 

Near this place they halted for the rest of 
the afternoon, for the violence of the day had 
already utterly exhausted all three of them. 
They began to suffer the beginnings of hunger, 
the night was cold, and none of them dared to 
sleep. And in the evening many people came 
hurrying along the road near by their stopping- 
place, fleeing from unknown dangers before 
them and going in the direction from which my 
brother had come. 



XVII. 

THE ' THUNDER CHILD.' 

HAD the Martians aimed only at destruction, 
they might on Monday have annihilated the 
entire population of London, as it spread itself 
slowly through the home counties. Not onl\ 
along the road through Barnet, but also througl 
Edgware and Waltham Abbey, and along the 
roads eastward to Southend and Shoeburyness, 
and south of the Thames to Deal and Broad- 
stairs, poured the same frantic rout. If one 
could have hung that June morning in 
balloon in the blazing blue above London, 
every northward and eastward road running 
out of the infinite tangle of streets would have 
seemed stippled black with the streaming 
fugitives, each dot a human agony of terror 
and physical distress. I have set forth at 
length in the last chapter my brother's account 
of the road through Chipping Barnet, in order 
that my readers may realize how that swarming 
of black dots appeared to one of those con- 



The ' Thunder Child ' 

cerned. Never before in the history of th 
world had such a mass of human beings moved 
and suffered together. The legendary hosts of 
Goths and Huns, the hugest armies Asia has 
ever seen, would have been but a drop in that 
current. And this was no disciplined march ; 
it was a stampede a stampede gigantic and 
terrible without order and without a goal, six 
million people, unarmed and unprovisioned, 
driving headlong. It was the beginning of 
the rout of civilization, of the massacre of man- 
kind. 

Directly below him the balloonist would have 
seen the network of streets far and wide, 
houses, churches, squares, crescents, gardens 
already derelict spread out like a huge map, 
and in the southward blotted. Over Ealing, 
Richmond, Wimbledon, it would have seemed 
as if some monstrous pen had flung ink upon 
the chart. Steadily, incessantly, each black 
splash grew and spread, shooting out ramifica- 
tions this way and that, now banking itself 
against rising ground, now pouring swiftly over 
a crest into a new-found valley, exactly as a 
gout of ink would spread itself upon blotting 
paper. 

And beyond, over the blue hills that rise 
southward of the river, the glittering Martians 



The War of the Worlds 

went to and fro, calmly and methodically 
spreading their poison-cloud over this patch of 
country, and then over that, laying it again 
with their steam-jets when it had served its 
purpose, and taking possession of the conquerec 
country. They do not seem to have aimed at 
extermination so much as at complete demorali- 
zation and the destruction of any opposition. 
They exploded any stores of powder they came 
upon, cut every telegraph, and wrecked the 
railways here and there. They were ham- 
stringing mankind. They seemed in no hurr 
to extend the field of their operations, and di( 
not come beyond the central part of London all 
that day. It is possible that a very consider- 
able number of people in London stuck to their 
houses through Monday morning. Certain it 
is that many died at home, suffocated by the 
Black Smoke. 

Until about mid-day, the Pool of London 
was an astonishing scene. Steamboats and 
shipping of all sorts lay there, tempted by the 
enormous sums of money offered by fugitives, 
and it is said that many who swam out to these 
vessels were thrust off with boathooks and 
drowned. About one o'clock in the afternoon 
the thinning remnant of a cloud of the black 
vapour appeared between the arches of Black- 



The c Thunder Child ' 175 

friars Bridge. At that the Pool became a scene 
of mad confusion, fighting and collision, and for 
some time a multitude of boats and barges 
jammed in the northern arch of the Tower 
Bridge, and the sailors and lightermen had to 
fight savagely against the people who swarmed 
upon them from the river front. People were 
actually clambering down the piers of the 
bridge from above. . . . 

When, an hour later, a Martian appeared 
beyond the Clock Tower and waded down the 
river, nothing but wreckage floated above 
Limehouse. 

Of the falling of the fifth cylinder I have 
presently to tell. The sixth star fell at 
Wimbledon. My brother, keeping watch be- 
side the women sleeping in the chaise in a 
meadow, saw the green flash of it far beyond 
the hills. On Tuesday the little party, still set 
upon getting across the sea, made its way 
through the swarming country towards Col- 
chester. The news that the Martians were 
now in possession of the whole of London was 
confirmed. They had been seen at Highgate, 
and even, it was said, at Neasdon. But they 
did not come into my brother's view until the 
morrow. 

That day the scattered multitudes began to 



176 The War of the Worlds 

realize the urgent need of provisions. As they 
grew hungry the rights of property ceased to 
be regarded. Farmers were out to defend their 
cattle-sheds, granaries, and ripening root crops 
with arms in their hands. A number of people 
now, like my brother, had their faces eastward, 
and there were some desperate souls ever 
going back towards London to get food. These 
were chiefly people from the northern suburbs, 
whose knowledge of the Black Smoke came bj 
hearsay. He heard that about half the members 
of the Government had gathered at Birming- 
ham, and that enormous quantities of high ex- 
plosives were being prepared to be used ii 
automatic mines across the Midland counties. 

He was also told that the Midland Railway 
Company had replaced the desertions of th( 
first day's panic, had resumed traffic, and were 
running northward trains from St. Albans tc 
relieve the congestion of the home counties. 
There was also a placard in Chipping Ongar 
announcing that large stores of flour were 
available in the northern towns, and that withii 
twenty-four hours bread would be distributee 
among the starving people in the neighbour- 
hood. But this intelligence did not deter him 
from the plan of escape he had formed, and the 
three pressed eastward all day, and saw nc 



The Thunder Child ' 177 

more of the bread distribution than this promise. 
Nor, as a matter of fact, did anyone else see 
more of it. That night fell the seventh star, 
falling upon Primrose Hill. It fell while 
Miss Elphinstone was watching, for she took 
that duty alternately with my brother. She 
saw it. 

On Wednesday the three fugitives they had 
passed the night in a field of unripe wheat 
reached Chelmsford, and there a body of the 
inhabitants, calling itself the Committee of 
Public Supply, seized the pony as provi- 
sions, and would give nothing in exchange 
for it but the promise of a share in it the next 
day. Here there were rumours of Martians at 
Epping, and news of the destruction of Waltham 
Abbey Powder Mills in a vain attempt to blow 
up one of the invaders. 

People were watching for Martians here from 
the church towers. My brother, very luckily 
for him as it chanced, preferred to push on at 
once to the coast, rather than wait for food, 
although all three of them were very hungry. 
By mid-day they passed through Tillingham, 
which strangely enough seemed to be quite 
silent and deserted, save for a few furtive 
plunderers, hunting for food. Near Tilling- 
ham they suddenly came in sight of the sea, 

12 



178 The War of the Worlds 

and the most amazing crowd of shipping of all 
sorts that it is possible to imagine. 

For after the sailors could no longer come up 
the Thames, they came on to the Essex coast, 
to Harwich, and Walton, and Clacton, and 
afterwards to Foulness and Shoebury, to bring 
off the people. They lay in a huge sickle- 
shaped curve that vanished into mist at last 
towards the Naze. Close inshore was a mul- 
titude of fishing - smacks, English, Scotch, 
French, Dutch and Swedish ; steam-launches 
from the Thames, yachts, electric boats ; and 
beyond were ships of larger burthen, a 
multitude of filthy colliers, trim merchantmen, 
cattle-ships, passenger-boats, petroleum-tanks, 
ocean tramps, an old white transport even, neat 
white and gray liners from Southampton and 
Hamburg ; and along the blue coast across the 
Blackwater my brother could make out dimly 
a dense swarm of boats chaffering with the 
people on the beach, a swarm which also ex- 
tended up the Blackwater almost to Maldon. 

About a couple of miles out lay an ironclad 
very low in the water, almost, to my brother's 
perception, like a water-logged ship. This was 
the ram Thunder Child. It was the only 
warship in sight, but far away to the right over 
the smooth surface of the sea for that day 



The Thunder Child ' 179 

there was a dead calm lay a serpent of black 
smoke to mark the next ironclads of the 
Channel Fleet, which hovered in an extended 
line, steam up and ready for action, across the 
Thames estuary during the course of the 
Martian conquest, vigilant and yet powerless to 
prevent it. 

At the sight of the sea, Mrs. Elphinstone, in 
spite of the assurances of her sister-in-law, gave 
way to panic. She had never been out of Eng- 
land before, she would rather die than trust her- 
self friendless in a foreign country, and so forth. 
She seemed, poor woman ! to imagine that the 
French and the Martians might prove very 
similar. She had been growing increasingly 
hysterical, fearful and depressed, during the 
two days' journeyings. Her great idea was to 
return to Stanmore. Things had been always 
well and safe at Stanmore. They would find 
George at Stanmore. . . . 

It was with the greatest difficulty they could 
get her down to the beach, where presently my 
brother succeeded in attracting the attention 
"t>f some men on a paddle steamer out of the 
Thames. They sent a boat and drove a 
bargain for thirty-six pounds for the three. 
The steamer was going, these men said, to 
Ostend. 

12 2 



1 80 The War of the Worlds 

It was about two o'clock when my brother, 
having paid their fares at the gangway, found 
himself safely aboard the steamboat with his 
charges. There was food aboard, albeit at 
exorbitant prices, and the three of them con- 
trived to eat a meal on one of the seats 
forward. 

There were already a couple of score of 
passengers aboard, some of whom had ex- 
pended their last money in securing a passage, 
but the captain lay off the Blackwater until 
five in the afternoon, picking up passengers 
until the seated decks were even dangerously 
crowded. He would probably have remained 
longer had it not been for the sound of guns 
that began about that hour in the south. As 
if in answer, the ironclad seaward fired a 
small gun and hoisted a string of flags. A 
jet of smoke sprang out of her funnels. 

Some of the passengers were of opinion 
that this firing came from Shoeburyness, until 
it was noticed that it was growing louder. At 
the same time, far away in the south-east, the 
masts and upper- works of three ironclads rose 
one after the other out of the sea, beneath 
clouds of black smoke. But my brother's 
attention speedily reverted to the distant 
firing in the south. He fancied he saw a 



The 'Thunder Child' 181 

column of smoke rising out of the distant gray 
haze. 

The little steamer was already flapping her 
way eastward of the big crescent of shipping, 
and the low Essex coast was growing blue and 
hazy, when a Martian appeared, small and 
faint in the remote distance, advancing along 
the muddy coast from the direction of Foul- 
ness. At that the captain on the bridge swore 
at the top of his voice with fear and anger at 
his own delay, and the paddles seemed infected 
with his terror. Every soul aboard stood at 
the bulwarks or on the seats of the steamer, 
and stared at that distant shape, higher than 
the trees or church towers inland, and advanc- 
ing with a leisurely parody of a human stride. 

It was the first Martian my brother had 
seen, and he stood, more amazed than terrified, 
watching this Titan advancing deliberately to- 
wards the shipping, wading farther and farther 
into the water as the coast fell away. Then, 
far away beyond the Crouch, came another 
striding over some stunted trees, and then yet 
'another still further off, wading deeply through 
a shiny mudflat that seemed to hang halfway 
up between sea and sky. They were all stalk- 
ing seaward, as if to intercept the escape of 
the multitudinous vessels that were crowded 



1 82 The War of the Worlds 

between Foulness and the Naze. In spite of 
the throbbing exertions of the engines of the 
little paddle-boat, and the pouring foam that 
her wheels flung behind her, she receded with 
terrifying slowness from this ominous advance. 

Glancing north-westward, my brother saw 
the large crescent of shipping already writhing 
with the approaching terror ; one ship passing 
behind another, another coming round from 
broadside to end on, steamships whistling and 
giving off volumes of steam, sails being let 
out, launches rushing hither and thither. He 
was so fascinated by this and by the creeping 
danger away to the left that he had no eyes 
for anything seaward. And then a swift move- 
ment of the steamboat (she had suddenly come 
round to avoid being run down) flung him 
headlong from the seat upon which he was 
standing. There was a shouting all about 
him, a trampling of feet, and a cheer that 
seemed to be answered faintly. The steam- 
boat lurched, and rolled him over upon his 
hands. 

He sprang to his feet and saw to starboard, 
and not a hundred yards from their heeling, 
pitching boat, a vast iron bulk like the blade 
of a plough tearing through the water, tossing 
it on either side in huge waves of foam that 



The 'Thunder Child' 183 

leapt towards the steamer, flinging her paddles 
helplessly in the air, and then sucking her deck 
down almost to the water-line. 

A douche of spray blinded my brother for a 
moment. When his eyes were clear again, he 
saw the monster had passed and was rushing 
landward. Big iron upper- works rose out of 
this headlong structure, and from that twin 
funnels projected, and spat a smoking blast 
shot with fire into the air. It was the torpedo- 
ram, Thunder Child, steaming headlong, coming 
to the rescue of the threatened shipping. 

Keeping his footing on the heaving deck by 
clutching the bulwarks, my brother looked past 
this charging leviathan at the Martians again, 
and he saw the three of them now close 
together, and standing so far out to sea that 
their tripod supports were almost entirely sub- 
merged. Thus sunken, and seen in remote 
perspective, they appeared far less formidable 
than the huge iron bulk in whose wake the 
steamer was pitching so helplessly. It would 
seem they were regarding this new antagonist 
with astonishment. To their intelligence, it 
may be, the giant was even such another as 
themselves. The Thunder Child fired no gun, 
but simply drove full speed towards them. It 
was probably her not firing that enabled her to 



1 84 The War of the Worlds 

get so near the enemy as she did. They did 
not know what to make of her. One shell, 
and they would have sent her to the bottom 
forthwith with the Heat- Ray. 

She was steaming at such a pace that in a 
minute she seemed halfway between the steam- 
boat and the Martians a diminishing black 
bulk against the receding horizontal expanse of 
the Essex coast. 

Suddenly the foremost Martian lowered his 
tube, and discharged a canister of the black 
gas at the ironclad. It hit her larboard side, 
and glanced off in an inky jet, that rolled away 
to seaward, an unfolding torrent of black smoke, 
from which the ironclad drove clear. To the 
watchers from the steamer, low in the water and 
with the sun in their eyes, it seemed as though 
she was already among the Martians. 

They saw the gaunt figures separating and 
rising out of the water as they retreated shore- 
ward, and one of them raised the camera-like 
generator of the Heat- Ray. He held it point- 
ing obliquely downward, and a bank of steam 
sprang from the water at its touch. It must 
have driven through the iron of the ship's side 
like a white-hot iron rod through paper. 

A flicker of flame went up through the rising 
steam, and then the Martian reeled and staggered. 



The 'Thunder Child' 185 

In another moment he was cut down, and a 
great body of water and steam shot high in 
the air. The guns of the Thunder Child 
sounded through the reek, going off one after 
the other, and one shot splashed the water 
high close by the steamer, ricocheted towards 
the other flying ships to the north, and smashed 
a smack to matchwood. 

But no one heeded that very much. At the 
sight of the Martian's collapse, the captain on 
the bridge yelled inarticulately, and all the 
crowding passengers on the steamer's stern 
shouted together. And then they yelled again. 
For, surging out beyond the white tumult drove 
something long and black, the flames streaming 
from its middle parts, its ventilators and funnels 
spouting fire. 

She was alive still ; the steering gear, it 
seems, was intact and her engines working. 
She headed straight for a second Martian, and 
was within a hundred yards of him when the 
Heat- Ray came to bear. Then with a violent 
thud, a blinding flash, her decks, her funnels, 
leapt upward. The Martian staggered with 
the violence of her explosion, and in another 
moment the flaming wreckage, still driving 
forward with the impetus of its pace, had 
struck him and crumpled him up like a thing of 



1 86 The War of the Worlds 

cardboard. My brother shouted involuntarily. 
A boiling tumult of steam hid everything again. 

' Two !' yelled the captain. 

Everyone was shouting ; the whole steamer 
from end to end rang with frantic cheering that 
was taken up first by one and then by all in the 
crowding multitude of ships and boats that 
driving out to sea. 

The steam hung upon the water for man] 
minutes, hiding the third Martian and the coast 
altogether. And all this time the boat We 
paddling steadily out to sea and away from the 
fight ; and when at last the confusion cleare( 
the drifting bank of black vapour intervene( 
and nothing of the Thunder Child could be 
made out, nor could the third Martian be seei 
But the ironclads to seaward were now quite 
close, and standing in towards shore past the 
steamboat. 

The little vessel continued to beat its waj 
seaward, and the ironclads receded slow!) 
towards the coast, which was hidden still by 
marbled bank of vapour, part steam, part black 
gas, eddying and combining in the strangest 
ways. The fleet of refugees was scattering to 
the north-east ; several smacks were sailing 
between the ironclads and the steamboat. 
After a time, and before they reached the sink- 



The 'Thunder Child' 187 

ing cloud-bank, the warships turned northwards, 
and then abruptly went about and passed into 
the thickening haze of evening southward. The 
coast grew faint, and at last indistinguishable 
amidst the low banks of clouds that were 
gathering about the sinking sun. 

Then suddenly out of the golden haze of the 
sunset came the vibration of guns, and a form 
of black shadows moving. Everyone struggled 
to the rail of the steamer and peered into the 
blinding furnace of the west, but nothing was 
to be distinguished clearly. A mass of smoke 
rose slantingly and barred the face of the sun. 
The steamboat throbbed on its way through an 
interminable suspense. 

The sun sank into gray clouds, the sky 
flushed and darkened, the evening star trembled 
into sight. It was deep twilight when the 
captain cried out and pointed. My brother 
strained his eyes. Something rushed up into 
the sky out of the grayness, rushed slantingly 
upward and very swiftly into the luminous 
clearness above the clouds in the western sky, 
"something flat and broad and very large, that 
swept round in a vast curve, grew smaller, sank 
slowly, and vanished again into the gray 
mystery of the night. And as it flew it rained 
down darkness upon the land. 



BOOK II. THE EARTH UNDER TH] 
MARTIANS. 

I. 

UNDER FOOT. 

IN the first book I have wandered so mucl 
from my own adventures to tell of the ex- 
periences of my brother, that all through the 
last two chapters I and the curate have beei 
lurking in the empty house at Halliford, 
whither we fled to escape the Black Smoke. 
There I will resume. We stopped there all 
Sunday night and all the next day the day 
of the panic in a little island of daylight, cut 
off by the Black Smoke from the rest of the 
world. We could do nothing but wait, in an 
aching inactivity, during those two weary days. 
My mind was occupied by anxiety for my 
wife. I figured her at Leatherhead, terrified, 
in danger, mourning me already as a dead man. 
I paced the rooms and cried aloud when I 
thought of how I was cut off from her, of all 






Under Foot 189 

that might happen to her in my absence. My 
cousin I knew was brave enough for any emer- 
gency, but he was not the sort of man to realize 
danger quickly, to rise promptly. What was 
needed now was not bravery, but circumspection. 
My only consolation was to believe that the 
Martians were moving Londonward and -away 
from her. Such vague anxieties keep the mind 
sensitive and painful. I grew very weary and 
irritable with the curate's perpetual ejaculations, 
I tired of the sight of his selfish despair. After 
some ineffectual remonstrance I kept away from 
him, staying in a room containing globes, forms, 
and copy-books, that was evidently a children's 
schoolroom. When at last he followed me 
thither, I went to a box-room at the top of the 
house and locked myself in, in order to be 
alone with my aching miseries. 

We were hopelessly hemmed in by the Black 
Smoke all that day, and the morning of the next. 
There were signs of people in the next house 
on Sunday evening a face at a window and 
moving lights, and later the slamming of a door. 
But I do not know who these people were, nor 
what became of them. We saw nothing of them 
next day. The Black Smoke drifted slowly 
riverward all through Monday morning, creep- 
ing nearer and nearer to us, driving at last 



1 90 The War of the Worlds 

along the roadway outside the house that 
hid us. 

A Martian came across the fields about mid- 
day, laying the stuff with a jet of superheated 
steam that hissed against the walls, smashed all 
the windows it touched, and scalded the curate's 
hand as he fled out of the front-room. When 
at last we crept across the sodden rooms and 
looked out again, the country northward was as 
though a black snowstorm had passed over it. 
Looking towards the river, we were astonished 
to see an unaccountable redness mingling with 
the black of the scorched meadows. 

For a time we did not see how this change 
affected our position, save that we were relieved 
of our fear of the Black Smoke. But later I 
perceived that we were no longer hemmed in, 
that now we might get away. So soon as I 
realized the way of escape was open, my dream 
of action returned. But the curate was lethargic, 
unreasonable. 

'We are safe here,' he repeated 'safe 
here.' 

I resolved to leave him would that I had ! 
Wiser now for the artilleryman's teaching, I 
sought out food and drink. I had found oil 
and rags for my burns, and I also took a hat 
and a flannel shirt that I found in one of the 



Under Foot 191 

bedrooms. When it was clear to him that I 
meant to go alone, had reconciled myself to 
going alone, he suddenly roused himself to 
come. And, all being quiet throughout the 
afternoon, we started, as I should judge, about 
five along the blackened road to Sunbury. 

In Sunbury, and at intervals along the road, 
were dead bodies lying in contorted attitudes 
horses as well as men overturned carts and 
luggage, all covered thickly with black dust. 
That pall of cindery powder made me think of 
what I had read of the destruction of Pompeii. 
We got to Hampton Court without misadven- 
ture, our minds full of strange and unfamiliar 
appearances, and at Hampton Court our eyes 
were relieved to find a patch of green that had 
escaped the suffocating drift. We went through 
Bushey Park, with its deer going to and fro 
under the chestnuts, and some men and women 
hurrying in the distance towards Hampton, and 
so came to Twickenham. These were the 
first people we saw. 

Away across the road the woods beyond 
Ham and Petersham were still afire. Twicken- 
ham was uninjured by either Heat- Ray or 
Black Smoke, and there were more people 
about here, though none could give us news. 
For the most part, they were like ourselves, 



192 The War of the Worlds 

taking advantage of a lull to shift their quarters. 
I have an impression that many of the houses 
here were still occupied by scared inhabitants, 
too frightened even for flight. Here, too, the 
evidence of a hasty rout was abundant along 
the road. I remember most vividly three 
smashed bicycles in a heap, pounded into the 
road by the wheels of subsequent carts. We 
crossed Richmond Bridge about half-past eight. 
We hurried across the exposed bridge, of course, 
but I noticed floating down the stream a number 
of red masses, some many feet across. I did 
not know what these were there was no time 
for scrutiny and I put a more horrible interpre- 
tation on them than they deserved. Here, 
again, on the Surrey side, was black dust that 
had once been smoke, and dead bodies a heap 
near the approach to the station and never a 
sight of the Martians until we were some way 
towards Barnes. 

We saw in the blackened distance a group of 
three people running down a side-street towards 
the river, but otherwise it seemed deserted. 
Up the hill Richmond town was burning 
briskly ; outside the town of Richmond there 
was no trace of the Black Smoke. 

Then suddenly, as we approached Kew, came 
a number of people running, and the upper- works 



Under Foot 193 

of a Martian Fighting Machine loomed in sight 
over the housetops, not a hundred yards away 
from us. We stood aghast at our danger, and 
had he looked down we must immediately have 
perished. We were so terrified that we dared 
not go on, but turned aside and hid in a shed inf 
a garden. There the curate crouched, weeping 
silently, and refusing to stir again. 

But my fixed idea of reaching Leatherhead 
would not let me rest, and in the twilight I 
ventured out again. I went through a shrub- 
bery, and along a passage beside a big house 
standing in its own grounds, and so emerged 
upon the road towards Kew. The curate I 
left in the shed, but he came hurrying af;er 
me. 

That second start was the most foolhardy 
thing I ever did. For it was manifest the 
Martians were about us. Scarcely had he over- 
taken me than we saw either the Fighting 
Machine we had seen before or another, far 
away across the meadows in the direction of 
Kew Lodge. Four or five little black figures 
Jhurried before it across the green -gray of the 
field, and in a moment it was evident this 
Martian pursued them. In three strides he was 
among them, and they ran radiating from his 
feet in all directions. He used no Heat- Ray to 

13 



1 94 The War of the Worlds 

destroy them, but picked them up one by one. 
Apparently he tossed them into the great 
metallic carrier which projected behind him, 
much as a workman's basket hangs over his 
shoulder. 

It was the first time I realized the Martians 
might have any other purpose than destruc- 
tion with defeated humanity. We stood for a 
moment petrified, then turned and fled through 
a gate behind us into a walled garden, fell into 
rather than found a fortunate ditch, and lay 
there, scarce daring to whisper to one another 
until the stars were out. 

I suppose it was nearly eleven at night before 
we gathered courage to start t again, no longer 
venturing into the road, but sneaking along 
hedgerows and through plantations, and watch- 
ing keenly through the darkness, he on the 
right and I on the left, for the Martians, who 
seemed to be all about us. In one place we 
blundered upon a scorched and blackened area, 
now cooling and ashen, and a number of scattered 
dead bodies of men, burnt horribly about the 
heads and bodies, but with their legs and boots 
mostly intact ; and of dead horses, fifty feet, 
perhaps, behind a line of four ripped guns and 
smashed gun-carriages. 

Sheen, it seemed, had escaped destruction, 



Under Foot 195 

but the place was silent and deserted. Here 
we happened on no dead, though the night was 
too dark for us to see into the side-roads of the 
place. In Sheen my companion suddenly com- 
plained of faintness and thirst, and we decided 
to try one of the houses. 

The first house we entered, after a little diffi- 
culty with the window, was a small semi-detached 
villa, and I found nothing eatable left in the 
place but some mouldy cheese. There was, 
however, water to drink, and I took a hatchet, 
which promised to be useful in our next house- 
breaking. 

We crossed the road to a place where the 
road turns towards Mortlake. Here there stood 
a white house within a walled garden, and in 
the pantry of this we found a store of food two 
loaves of bread in a pan, an uncooked steak, 
and the half of a ham. I give this catalogue so 
precisely because, as it happened, we were 
destined to subsist upon this store for the next 
fortnight. Bottled beer stood under a shelf, 
and there were two bags of haricot beans and 
some limp lettuces. This pantry opened into a 
kind of wash-up kitchen, and in this was fire- 
wood, and a cupboard in which we found nearly 
a dozen of burgundy, tinned soups and salmon, 
and two tins of biscuits. 

132 



1 96 The War of the Worlds 

We sat in the adjacent kitchen in the dark 
for we dared not strike a light and ate bread 
and ham and drank beer out of one bottle. The 
curate, who was still timorous and restless, was 
now oddly enough for pushing on, and I was 
urging him to keep up his strength by eating, 
when the thing that was to imprison us 
happened. 

' It can't be midnight yet,' I said, and then 
came a blinding glare of vivid green light. 
Everything in the kitchen leapt out, clearly 
visible in green and black, and then vanished 
again. And then followed such a concussion as 
I have never heard before or since. So close 
on the heels of this as to seem instantaneous, 
came a thud behind me, a clash of glass, a crash 
and rattle of falling masonry all about us, and 
incontinently the plaster of the ceiling came 
down upon us, smashing into a multitude of 
fragments upon our heads. I was knocked 
headlong across the floor against the oven 
handle and stunned. I was insensible for a 
long time, the curate told me, and when I came 
to we were in darkness again, and he, with 
a face wet as I found afterwards with blood 
from a cut forehead, was dabbing water over 
me. 

For some time I could not recollect what had 



Under Foot 197 

happened. Then things came to me slowly. A 
bruise on my temple asserted itself. 

' Are you better ?' asked the curate, in a 
whisper. 

At last I answered him. I sat up. 

' Don't move,' he said. 'The floor is covered 
with smashed crockery from the dresser. You 
can't possibly move without making a noise, and 
I fancy they are outside.' 

We both sat quite silent, so that we could 
scarcely hear one another breathing. Every- 
thing seemed deadly still, though once some- 
thing near us, some plaster or broken brickwork, 
slid down with a rumbling sound. Outside 
and very near was an intermittent, metallic 
rattle. 

' That !' said the curate, when presently it 
happened again. 

' Yes,' I said. ' But what is it ?' 

' A Martian !' said the curate. 

I listened again. 

' It was not like the Heat- Ray,' I said, and 
for a time I was inclined to think one of the 
*great Fighting Machines had stumbled against 
the house, as I had seen one stumble against 
the tower of Shepperton Church. 

Our situation was so strange and incompre- 
hensible that for three or four hours, until the 



1 98 The War of the Worlds 

dawn came, we scarcely moved. And then the 
light filtered in, not through the window, which 
remained black, but through a triangular aper- 
ture between a beam and a heap of broken 
bricks in the wall behind us. The interior of 
the kitchen we now saw grayly for the first 
time. 

The window had been burst in by a mass of 
garden mould, which flowed over the table upon 
which we had been sitting and lay about our 
feet. Outside the soil was banked high against 
the house. At the top of the window-frame we 
could see an uprooted drain-pipe. The floor 
was littered with smashed hardware ; the end 
of the kitchen towards the house was broken 
into, and since the daylight shone in there it 
was evident the greater part of the house had 
collapsed. Contrasting vividly with this ruin 
was the neat dresser, stained in the fashion, 
pale green, and with a number of copper and 
tin vessels below it, the wall-paper imitating 
blue and white tiles, and a couple of coloured 
supplements fluttering from the walls above the 
kitchen range. 

As the dawn grew clearer, we saw through 
the gap in the wall the body of a Martian 
standing sentinel, I suppose, over the still glow- 
ing cylinder. At the sight of that we crawled 



Under Foot 199 

as circumspectly as possible out of the twilight 
of the kitchen into the darkness of the scullery. 

Abruptly the right interpretation of the things 
dawned upon my mind. 

'The fifth cylinder,' I whispered, 'the fifth 
shot from Mars, has struck this house and 
buried us under the ruins !' 

For a space the curate was silent, and then 
he whispered : 

' God have mercy upon us !' 

I heard him presently whimpering to him- 
self. 

Save for that sound we lay quite still in the 
scullery. I for my part scarce dared breathe, 
and sat with my eyes fixed on the faint light of 
the kitchen door. I could just see the curate's 
face, a dim oval shape, and his collar and cuffs. 
Outside there began a metallic hammering, and 
then a violent hooting, and then, after a quiet 
interval, a hissing, like the hissing of an engine. 
These noises, for the most part problematical, 
continued intermittently, and seemed, if any- 
thing, to increase in number as the time wore 
''on. Presently a measured thudding, and a 
vibration that made everything about us quiver 
and the vessels in the pantry ring and shift, 
began and continued. Once the light was 
eclipsed, and the ghostly kitchen doorway 



20O 



The War of the Worlds 



became absolutely dark. For many hours we 
must have crouched there, silent and shivering, 
until our tired attention failed. . . . 

At last I found myself awake and very 
hungry. I am inclined to believe we must 
have been the greater portion of a day before 
that awakening. My hunger was at a stride so 
insistent that it moved me to action. I told 
him I was going to seek food, and felt my way 
towards the pantry. He made me no answer, 
but so soon as I began eating, the faint noise I 
made stirred him to action, and I heard him 
crawling after me. 



II. 

WHAT WE SAW FROM THE RUINED HOUSE. 

AFTER eating we crept back to the scullery, 
and there I must have dozed again, for when 
presently I stirred I was alone. The thudding 
vibration continued with wearisome persistence. 
I whispered for the curate several times, and at 
last felt my way to the door of the kitchen. It 
was still daylight, and I perceived him across 
the room, lying against the triangular hole that 
looked out upon the Martians. His shoulders 
were hunched, so that his head was hidden 
from me. 

I could hear a number of noises, almost like 
those of an engine-shed, and the place rocked 
with that beating thud. Through the aperture 
in the wall I could see the top of a tree touched 
""With gold, and the warm blue of a tranquil 
evening sky. For a minute or so I remained 
watching the curate, and then I advanced, 
crouching and stepping with extreme care amidst 
the broken crockery that littered the floor. 



202 The War of the World 

I touched the curate's leg, and he started so 
violently that a mass of plaster went sliding 
down outside and fell with a loud impact I 
gripped his arm, fearing he might cry out, and 
for a long time we crouched motionless. Then 
I turned to see how much of our rampart re- 
mained. The detachment of the plaster had 
left a vertical slit open in the debris, and by 
raising myself cautiously across a beam I was 
able to see out of this gap into what had been 
overnight a quiet suburban roadway. Vast 
indeed was the change that we beheld. 

The fifth cylinder must have fallen right into 
the midst of the house we had first visited. 
The building had vanished, completely smashed, 
pulverized and dispersed by the blow. The 
cylinder lay now far beneath the original foun- 
dations, deep in a hole, already vastly larger 
than the pit I had looked into at Woking. The 
earth all round it had splashed under that tre- 
mendous impact ' splashed ' is the only word 
and lay in heaped piles that hid the masses of 
the adjacent houses. It had behaved exactly 
like mud under the violent blow of a hammer. 
Our house had collapsed backwards ; the front 
portion, even on the ground-floor, had been 
destroyed completely ; by a chance, the kitchen 
and scullery had escaped, and stood buried now 



What we saw from the Ruined House 203 

under soil and ruins, closed in by tons of earth 
on every side, save towards the cylinder. Over 
that aspect we hung now on the very verge of 
the great circular pit the Martians were engaged 
in making. The heavy beating sound was 
evidently just behind us, and ever and again a 
bright green vapour drove up like a veil across 
our peephole. 

The cylinder was already opened in the 
centre of the pit, and on the further edge of 
the pit, amidst the smashed and gravel-heaped 
shrubbery, one of the great Fighting Machines 
stood, deserted by its occupant, stiff and tall 
against the evening sky. At first I scarcely 
noticed the pit or the cylinder, although it has 
been convenient to describe them first, on 
account of the extraordinary glittering mechan- 
ism I saw, busy in the excavation, and on 
account of the strange creatures that were 
crawling slowly and painfully across the heaped 
mould near it. 

The mechanism it certainly was held my 
attention first. It was one of those compli- 
1:ated fabrics that have since been called Hand- 
ling Machines, and the study of which has 
already given such an enormous impetus to 
terrestrial invention. As it dawned upon me 
first it presented a sort of metallic spider with 



204 The War of the Worlds 

five jointed, agile legs, and with an extra- 
ordinary number of jointed levers, bars, and 
reaching and clutching tentacles about its body. 
Most of its arms were retracted, but with three 
long tentacles it was fishing out a number of 
rods, plates and bars which lined the covering 
of, and apparently strengthened the walls of, 
the cylinder. These, as it extracted them, 
were lifted out and deposited upon a level 
surface of earth behind it. 

Its motion was so swift, complex and perfect 
that at first I did not see it as a machine, in 
spite of its metallic glitter. The Fighting 
Machines were co-ordinated and animated to 
an extraordinary pitch, but nothing to compare 
with this. People who have never seen these 
structures, and have only the ill-imagined efforts 
of artists or the imperfect descriptions of such 
eye-witnesses as myself to go upon, scarcely 
realize that living quality. 

I recall particularly the illustration of one of 
the first pamphlets to give a consecutive 
account of the war. The artist had evidently 
made a hasty study of one of the Fighting 
Machines, and there his knowledge ended. He 
presented them as tilted, stiff tripods, without 
either flexibility or subtlety, and with an alto- 
gether misleading monotony of effect. The 



What we saw from the Ruined House 205 

pamphlet containing these renderings had a 
considerable vogue, and I mention them here 
simply to warn the reader against the impres- 
sion they may have created. They were no 
more like the Martians I saw in action than a 
Dutch doll is like a human being. To my 
mind, the pamphlet would have been much 
better without them. 

At first, I say, the Handling Machine did 
not impress me as a machine, but as a crab- 
like creature with a glittering integument, the 
controlling Martian, whose delicate tentacles 
actuated its movements, seeming to be simply 
the equivalent of the crab's cerebral portion. 
But then I perceived the resemblance of its 
gray-brown, shiny, leathery integument to that 
of the other sprawling bodies beyond, and the 
true nature of this dexterous workman dawned 
upon me. With that realization my interest 
shifted to those other creatures, the real Mar- 
tians. Already I had had a transient impres- 
sion of these, and the first nausea no longer 
obscured my observation. Moreover, I was 
-concealed and motionless, and under no urgency 
of action. 

They were, I now saw, the most unearthly 
creatures it is possible to conceive. They were 
huge round bodies or, rather, heads about 



206 The War of the Worlds 

four feet in diameter, each body having in front 
of it a face. This face had no nostrils indeed, 
the Martians do not seem to have had any sense 
of smell but it had a pair of very large, dark- 
coloured eyes, and just beneath this a kind of 
fleshy beak. In the back of this head or body 
I scarcely know how to speak of it was the 
single tight tympanic surface, since known to 
be anatomically an ear, though it must have 
been almost useless in our denser air. In a 
group round the mouth were sixteen slender, 
almost whip-like tentacles, arranged in two 
bunches of eight each. These bunches have 
since been named rather aptly, by that dis- 
tinguished anatomist Professor Howes, the 
hands. Even as I saw these Martians for the 
first time they seemed to be endeavouring to 
raise themselves on these hands, but of course, 
with the increased weight of terrestrial con- 
ditions, this was impossible. There is reason 
to suppose that on Mars they may have pro- 
gressed upon them with some facility. 

The internal anatomy, I may remark here, 
dissection has since shown, was almost equally 
simple. The greater part of the structure was 
the brain, sending enormous nerves to the eyes, 
ear and tactile tentacles. Besides this were the 
complex lungs, into which the mouth opened, 



What we saw from the Ruined House 207 

and the heart and its vessels. The pulmonary 
distress caused by the denser atmosphere and 
greater gravitational attraction was only too 
evident in the convulsive movements of the 
outer skin. 

And this was the sum of the Martian organs. 
Strange as it may seem to a human being, all 
the complex apparatus of digestion, which makes 
up the bulk of our bodies, did not exist in the 
Martians. They were heads, merely heads. 
Entrails they had none. They did not eat, much 
less digest. Instead, they took the fresh living 
blood of other creatures, and injected it into 
their own veins. I have myself seen this being 
done, as I shall mention in its place. But, 
squeamish as I may seem, I cannot bring my- 
self to describe what I could not endure even 
to continue watching. Let it suffice, blood 
obtained from a still living animal, in most 
cases from a human being, was run directly 
by means of a little pipette into the recipient 
canal. . . . 

The bare idea of this is no doubt horribly 
repulsive to us, but at the same time I think 
that we should remember how repulsive our 
carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent 
rabbit. 

The physiological advantages of the practice 



208 



The War of the Worlds 



of injection are undeniable, if one thinks of th( 
tremendous waste of human time and energy 
occasioned by eating and the digestive process. 
Our bodies are half made up of glands am 
tubes and organs, occupied in turning hetero- 
geneous food into blood. The digestive pro- 
cesses and their reaction upon the nervous 
system sap our strength, colour our minds. 
Men go happy or miserable as they have 
healthy or unhealthy livers, or sound gastric 
glands. But the Martians were lifted above 
all these organic fluctuations of mood and 
emotion. 

Their undeniable preference for men as theii 
source of nourishment is partly explained by the 
nature of the remains of the victims they had 
brought with them as provisions from Mars. 
These creatures, to judge from the shrivellec 
remains that have fallen into human hands, were 
bipeds, with flimsy siliceous skeletons (almost 
like those of the siliceous sponges) and feeble 
musculature, standing about six feet high, anc 
having round erect heads, and large eyes 
in flinty sockets. Two or three of these 
seem to have been brought in each cylinder, 
and all were killed before earth was reached. 
It was just as well for them, for the mere 
attempt to stand upright upon our planet 



What we saw from the Ruined House 209 

would have broken every bone in their 
bodies. 

And while I am engaged in this description, 
I may add in this place certain further details, 
which, although they were not all evident to us 
at the time, will enable the reader who is unac- 
quainted with them to form a clearer picture of 
these offensive creatures. 

In three other points their physiology differed 
strangely from ours. Their organisms did not 
sleep, any more than the heart of man sleeps. 
Since they had no extensive muscular mechanism 
to recuperate, that periodical extinction was 
unknown to them. They had little or no sense 
of fatigue, it would seem. On earth they can 
never have moved without effort, yet even to 
the last they kept in action. In twenty- four 
hours they did twenty-four hours of work, as 
even on earth is perhaps the case with the 
ants. 

In the next place, wonderful as it seems in a 
sexual world, the Martians were absolutely 
without sex, and therefore without any of the 
tumultuous emotions that arise from that dif- 
ference among men. A young Martian, there 
can now be no dispute, was really born upon 
earth during the war, and it was found attached 
to its parent, partially budded off, just as young 



2io The War of the Worlds 

lily bulbs bud off, or the young animals in the 
fresh-water polyp. 

In man, in all the higher terrestrial animals, 
such a method of increase has disappeared; but 
even on this earth it was certainly the primitive 
method. Among the lower animals, up even to 
those first cousins of the vertebrated animals, 
the Tunicates, the two processes occur side by 
side, but finally the sexual method superseded 
its competitor altogether. On Mars, however, 
just the reverse has apparently been the case. 

It is worthy of remark that a certain specula- 
tive writer of quasi-scientific repute, writing long 
before the Martian invasion, did forecast for 
man a final structure not unlike the actua 
Martian condition. His prophecy, I remember, 
appeared in November or December, 1893, in 
a long defunct publication, the Pall Mall Budget, 
and I recall a caricature of it in a pre- Martian 
periodical called Punch. He pointed out- 
writing in a foolish facetious tone that the per- 
fection of mechanical appliances must ultimately 
supersede limbs, the perfection of chemical 
devices, digestion that such organs as hair, 
external nose, teeth, ears, chin, were no longer 
essential parts of the human being, and that 
the tendency of natural selection would lie in the 
direction of their steady diminution through the 



What we saw from the Ruined House 2 1 1 

coming ages. The brain alone remained a 
cardinal necessity. Only one other part of the 
body had a strong case for survival, and that 
was the hand, ' teacher and agent of the brain.' 
While the rest of the body dwindled, the hands 
would grow larger. 

There is many a true word written in jest, 
and here in the Martians we have beyond 
dispute the actual accomplishment of such a 
suppression of the animal side of the organism 
by the intelligence. To me it is quite credible 
that the Martians may be descended from 
beings not unlike ourselves, by a gradual 
development of brain and hands (the latter 
giving rise to the two bunches of delicate 
tentacles at last) at the expense of the rest of 
the body. Without the body the brain would 
of course become a more selfish intelligence, 
without any of the emotional substratum of the 
human being. 

The last salient point in which the systems 
of these creatures differed from ours was in what 
one might have thought a very trivial particular. 
Micro-organisms, which cause so much disease 
and pain on earth, have either never appeared 
upon Mars, or Martian sanitary science elimin- 
ated them ages ago. A hundred diseases, all 
the fevers and contagions of human life, con- 

142 



2 1 2 The War of the Worlds 

sumption, cancers, tumours, and such mor- 
bidities, never enter the scheme of their life. 
And speaking of the differences between the 
life on Mars and terrestrial life, I may allude 
here to the curious suggestions of the Red 
Weed. 

Apparently the vegetable kingdom in Mars, 
instead of having green for a dominant colour, 
is of a vivid blood-red tint. At any rate, the 
seeds which the Martians (intentionally or acci- 
dentally) brought with them gave rise in all 
cases to red-coloured growths. Only that known 
popularly as the Red Weed, however, gained 
any footing in competition with terrestrial forms. 
The Red Creeper was quite a transitory growth, 
and few people have seen it growing. For a 
time, however, the Red Weed grew with aston- 
ishing vigour and luxuriance. It spread up the 
sides of the pit by the third or fourth day of our 
imprisonment, and its cactus - like branches 
formed a carmine fringe to the edges of our 
triangular window. And afterwards I found it 
broadcast throughout the country, and especially 
wherever there was a stream of water. 

The Martians had what appears to have been 
an auditory organ, a: single round drum at the 
back of the head-body, and eyes with a visual 
range not very different from ours, except that, 



What we saw from the Ruined House 2 1 3 

according to Philips, blue and violet were as 
black to them. It is commonly supposed that 
they communicated by sounds and tentacular 
gesticulations ; this is asserted, for instance, in 
the able but hastily compiled pamphlet (written 
evidently by someone not an eye - witness of 
Martian actions) to which I have already 
alluded, and which, so far, has been the chief 
source of information concerning them. Now, 
no surviving human being saw so much of the 
Martians in action as I did. I take no credit 
to myself for an accident, but the fact is so. 
And I assert that I watched them closely time 
after time, and that I have seen four, five, and 
(once) six of them sluggishly performing the 
most elaborately complicated operations to- 
gether, without either sound or gesture. Their 
peculiar hooting invariably preceded feeding ; 
it had no modulation, and was, I believe, in no 
sense a signal, but merely the expiration of air 
preparatory to the suctional operation. I have 
a certain claim to at least an elementary know- 
ledge of psychology, and in this matter I am 
-convinced as firmly as I am convinced of any- 
thing that the Martians interchanged thoughts 
without any physical intermediation. And I 
have been convinced of this in spite of strong 
preconceptions. Before the Martian invasion, 



2 1 4 The War of the Worlds 

as an occasional reader here or there may 
remember, I had written, with some little 
vehemence, against the telepathic theory. 

The Martians wore no clothing. Their con- 
ceptions of ornament and decorum were neces- 
sarily different from ours ; and not only were 
they evidently much less sensible of changes 
of temperature than we are, but changes of 
pressure do not seem to have affected their 
health at all seriously. But if they wore no 
clothing, yet it was in the other artificial addi- 
tions to their bodily resources, certainly, that 
their great superiority over man lay. We men, 
with our bicycles and road-skates, our Lilienthal 
soaring-machines, our guns and sticks, and so 
forth, are just in the beginning of the evolution 
that the Martians have worked out. They 
have become practically mere brains, wearing 
different bodies according to their needs, just 
as men wear suits of clothes, and take a bicycle 
in a hurry or an umbrella in the wet. And of 
their appliances, perhaps nothing is more 
wonderful to a man than the curious fact that 
what is the dominant feature of almost all 
human devices in mechanism is absent the 
wheel is absent ; amongst all the things they 
brought to earth there is no trace or suggestion 
of their use of wheels. One would have at 



What we saw from the Ruined House 2 1 5 

least expected it in locomotion. And in this 
connection it is curious to remark that even on 
this earth Nature has never hit upon the wheel, 
or has preferred other expedients to its develop- 
ment. And not only did the Martians either 
not know of (which is incredible) or abstain 
from the wheel, but in their apparatus singularly 
little use is made of the fixed pivot, or relatively 
fixed pivot, with circular motions thereabout 
confined to one plane. Almost all the joints of 
the machinery present a complicated system of 
sliding parts moving over small but beautifully 
curved friction bearings. And while upon this 
matter of detail, it is remarkable that the long 
leverages of their machines are in most cases 
actuated by a sort of sham musculature of discs 
in an elastic sheath ; these discs become polar- 
ized and drawn closely and powerfully together 
when traversed by a current of electricity. In 
this way the curious parallelism to animal 
motions, which was so striking and disturbing 
to the human beholder, was attained. Such 
quasi-muscles abounded in the crab-like Hand- 
ling Machine which I watched unpacking the 
cylinder, on my first peeping out of the slit. 
It seemed infinitely more alive than the actual 
Martians lying beyond it in the sunset light, 
panting, stirring ineffectual tentacles, and 



2 1 6 The War of the Worlds 

moving feebly, after their vast journey across 
space. 

While I was still watching their feeble 
motions in the sunlight, and noting each 
strange detail of their form, the curate re- 
minded me of his presence by pulling violently 
at my arm. I turned to a scowling face, and 
silent, eloquent lips. He wanted the slit, which 
permitted only one of us to peep through at a 
time ; and so I had to forego watching them 
for a time while he enjoyed that privilege. 

When I looked again, the busy Handling 
Machine had already put together several of 
the pieces of apparatus it had taken out of 
the cylinder into a shape having an unmis- 
takable likeness to its own ; and down on the 
left a busy little digging mechanism^ had come 
into view, emitting jets of green vapour and 
working its way round the pit, excavating and 
embanking in a methodical and discriminating 
manner. This it was had caused the regular 
beating noise, and the rhythmic shocks that 
had kept our ruinous refuge quivering. It 
piped and whistled as it worked. So far as I 
could see, the thing was without a directing 
Martian at all. 



III. 

THE DAYS OF IMPRISONMENT. 

THE arrival of a second Fighting Machine 
drove us from our peephole into the scullery, 
for we feared that from his elevation the 
Martian might see down upon us behind our 
barrier. At a later date we began to feel less 
in danger of their eyes, for to an eye in the 
dazzle of the sunlight outside our refuge must 
have seemed a blind of blackness, but at first 
the slightest suggestion of approach drove us 
into the scullery in heart -throbbing retreat. 
Yet, terrible as was the danger we incurred, 
the attraction of peeping was for both of us 
irresistible. And I recall now with a sort of 
wonder that, spite of the infinite danger in 
which we were between starvation and a still 
<more terrible death, we could yet struggle 
bitterly for that horrible privilege of sight. 
We would race across the kitchen in a grotesque 
pace between eagerness and the dread of 
making a noise, and strike one another, and 



2 1 8 The War of the Worlds 

thrust and kick, within a few inches of expo- 
sure. 

The fact is that we had absolutely incom- 
patible dispositions and habits of thought and 
action, and our danger and isolation only ac- 
centuated the incompatibility. At Halliford I 
had already come to hate his trick of helpless 
exclamation, his stupid rigidity of mind. His 
endless muttering monologue vitiated every 
effort I made to think out a line of action, and 
drove me at times, thus pent up and intensified, 
almost to the verge of craziness. He was as 
lacking in restraint as a silly woman. He 
would weep for hours together, and I verily be- 
lieve that to the very end this spoilt child of 
life thought his weak tears in some way effi- 
cacious. And I would sit in the darkness 
unable to keep my mind off him by reason of 
his importunities. He ate more than I did, and 
it was in vain I pointed out that our only 
chance of life was to stop in the house until the 
Martians had done with their pit, that in that 
long patience a time might presently come 
when we should need food. He ate and drank 
impulsively in heavy meals at long intervals. 
He slept little. 

As the days wore on, his utter carelessness 
of any consideration so intensified our distress 






The Days of Imprisonment 219 

and danger that I had, much as I loathed doing 
it, to resort to threats, and at last to blows. 
That brought him to reason for a time. But 
he was one of those weak creatures full of a 
shifty cunning who face neither God nor man, 
who face not even themselves, void of pride, 
timorous, anaemic, hateful souls. 

It is disagreeable for me to recall and write 
these things, but I set them down that my 
story may lack nothing. Those who have 
escaped the dark and terrible aspects of life 
will find my brutality, my flash of rage in our 
final tragedy, easy enough to blame ; for they 
know what is wrong as well as any, but not 
what is possible to tortured men. But those 
who have been under the shadow, who have 
gone down at last to elemental things, will have 
a wider charity. 

And while within we fought out our dark 
dim contest of whispers, snatched food and 
drink and gripping hands and blows, without 
in the pitiless sunlight of that terrible June 
was the strange wonder, the unfamiliar routine 
trf the Martians in the pit. Let me return to 
those first new experiences of mine. After a 
long time I ventured back to the peephole, to 
find that the new-comers had been reinforced 
by the occupants of no less than three of the 



220 The War of the Worlds 

Fighting Machines. These last had brought 
with them certain fresh appliances that stood in 
an orderly manner about the cylinder. The 
second Handling Machine was now completed, 
and was busied in serving one of the novel 
contrivances the big machine had brought. 
This was a body resembling a milk-can in its 
general form above which oscillated a pear- 
shaped receptacle, and from which a stream of 
white powder flowed into a circular basin 
below. 

The oscillatory motion was imparted to this 
by one tentacle of the Handling Machine. 
With two spatulate hands the Handling 
Machine was digging out and flinging masses 
of clay into the pear-shaped receptacle above, 
while with another arm it periodically opened a 
door and removed rusty and blackened clinkers 
from the middle part of the machine. Another 
steely tentacle directed the powder from the 
basin along a ribbed channel towards some 
receiver that was hidden from me by the mound 
of bluish dust. From this unseen receiver a 
little thread of green smoke rose vertically into 
the quiet air. As I looked, the Handling 
Machine, with a faint and musical clinking, 
extended, telescopic fashion, a tentacle that had 
been a moment before a mere blunt projection, 



The Days of Imprisonment 221 

until its end was hidden behind the mound of 
clay. In another second it had lifted a bar of 
white aluminium into sight, untarnished as yet 
and shining dazzlingly, and deposited it in a 
growing stack of bars that stood at the side of 
the pit. Between sunset and starlight this 
dexterous machine must have made more than 
a hundred such bars out of the crude clay, and 
the mound of bluish dust rose steadily until it 
topped the side of the pit. 

The contrast between the swift and complex 
movements of these contrivances and the inert, 
panting clumsiness of their masters was acute, 
and for days I had to tell myself repeatedly 
that these latter were indeed the living of the 
two things. 

The curate had possession of the slit when 
the first men were brought to the pit. I was 
sitting below, crouched together, listening with 
all my ears. He made a sudden movement 
backward, and I, fearful that we were observed, 
crouched in a spasm of terror. He came 
sliding down the rubbish, and crouched beside 
tne in the darkness, inarticulate, gesticulating, 
and for a moment I shared his terror. His 
gesture suggested a resignation of the slit, and 
after a little while my curiosity gave me courage, 
and I rose up, stepped across him, and clam- 



222 The War of the Worlds 

bered up to it. At first I could see no reasor 
for his terror. The twilight had now come, 
the stars were little and faint, but the pit was 
illuminated by the flickering green fire that 
came from the aluminium making. The whole 
picture was a flickering scheme of green gleams 
and shifting rusty black shadows, strangely 
trying to the eyes. Over and through it all 
went the bats, heeding it not at all. The 
sprawling Martians were no longer to be seen, 
the mound of blue-green powder had risen to 
cover them from sight, and a Fighting Machine, 
with its legs contracted, crumpled and abbre- 
viated, stood across the corner of the pit. And 
then, amidst the clangour of the machinery, 
came a drifting suspicion of human voices, that 
I entertained at first only to dismiss. 

I crouched, watching this Fighting Machine 
closely, satisfying myself now for the first 
time that the hood did indeed contain 
Martian. As the green flames lifted- I could 
see the oily gleam of his integument and the 
brightness of his eyes. And suddenly I heard 
a yell, and saw a long tentacle reaching over 
the shoulder of the machine, to the little cage 
that hunched upon its back. Then something 
something struggling violently was lifted 
high against the sky, a black vague enigma 



The Days of Imprisonment 223 

against the starlight, and as this black object 
came down again, I saw by the green bright- 
ness that it was a man. For an instant he was 
clearly visible. He was a stout, ruddy, middle- 
aged man; well dressed ; three days before he 
must have been walking the world, a man of 
considerable consequence. I could see his 
staring eyes and gleams of light on his studs 
and watch-chain. He vanished behind the 
mound, and for a moment there was silence. 
And then began a shrieking and a sustained 
and cheerful hooting from the Martians. . . . 

I slid down the rubbish, struggled to my 
feet, clapped my hands over my ears, and 
bolted into the scullery. The curate, who 
had been crouching silently with his arms over 
his head, looked up as I passed, cried out quite 
loudly at my desertion of him, and came running 
after me. ... 

That night, as we lurked in the scullery, 
balanced between our horror and the horrible 
fascination this peeping had, although I felt an 
urgent need of action, I tried in vain to con- 
ceive any plan of escape ; but afterwards, during 
the second day, I was able to consider our posi- 
tion with great clearness. The curate, I found, 
was quite incapable of discussion ; strange 
terrors had already made him a creature of 



224 



The War of the Worlds 



violent impulses, had robbed him of reason or 
forethought. Practically he had already sunk. 
to the level of an animal. But, as the saying 
goes, I gripped myself with both hands. It 
grew upon my mind, once I could face the 
facts, that, terrible as our position was, there 
was as yet no justification for absolute despair. 
Our chief chance lay in the possibility of the 
Martians making the pit nothing more than a 
temporary encampment. Or even if they kept 
it permanently, they might not consider it 
necessary to guard it, and a chance of escape 
might be afforded us. I also weighed very 
carefully the possibility of our digging a way 
out in a direction away from the pit, but the 
chances of our emerging within sight of some 
sentinel Fighting Machine seemed at first too 
enormous. And I should have had to have 
done all the digging myself, fhe curate would 
certainly have failed me. 

It was on the third day, if my memory 
serves me right, that I saw the lad killed. It 
was the only occasion on which I actually 
saw the Martians feed. After that experience, 
I avoided the hole in the wall for the better 
part of a day. I went into the scullery, 
removed the door, and spent some hours 
digging with my hatchet as silently as possible ; 



The Days of Imprisonment 225 

but when I had made a hole about a couple of 
feet deep the loose earth collapsed noisily, and 
I did not dare continue. I lost heart, and 
lay down on the scullery floor for a long time, 
having no spirit even to move. And after that 
I abandoned altogether the idea of escaping by 
excavation. 

It says much for the impression the Martians 
had made upon me, that at first I entertained 
little or no hope of our escape being brought 
about by their overthrow through any human 
effort. But on the fourth or fifth night I heard 
a sound like heavy guns. 

It was very late in the night, and the moon 
was shining brightly. The Martians had taken 
away the Excavating Machine, and, save for 
a Fighting Machine that stood on the remoter 
bank of the pit, and a Handling Machine 
that was busied out of my sight in a corner 
of the pit immediately beneath my peep-hole, 
the place was deserted by them. Except for 
the pale glow from the Handling Machine, 
and the bars and patches of white moon- 
light, the pit was in darkness, and except for 
the clinking of the Handling Machine, quite 
still. That night was a beautiful serenity ; 
save for one planet, the moon seemed to have 
the sky to herself. I heard a dog howling, and 

15 



226 



The War of the Worlds 



that familiar sound it was made me listen. 
Then I heard quite distinctly a booming 
exactly like the sound of great guns. Six 
distinct reports I counted, and after a lorn 
interval six again. And that was all. 



IV. 

THE DEATH OF THE CURATE. 

IT was on the sixth day of our imprisonment that 
I peeped for the last time, and presently found 
myself alone. Instead of keeping close to me 
and trying to oust me from the slit, the curate 
had gone back into the scullery. I was struck 
by a sudden thought. I went back quickly and 
quietly into the scullery. In the darkness I 
heard the curate drinking. I snatched in the 
darkness, and my fingers caught a bottle of 
burgundy. 

For a few minutes there was a tussle. The 
bottle struck the floor and broke, and I desisted 
and rose. We stood panting, threatening one 
another. In the end I planted myself between 
him and the food, and told him of my deter- 
mination to begin a discipline. I divided the 
food in the pantry into rations to last us ten 
days. I would not let him eat any more that 
day. In the afternoon he made a feeble effort 
to get at the food. I had been dozing, but in 

152 



228 The War of the Worlds 

an instant I was awake. All day and all night 
we sat face to face, I weary but resolute, and 
he weeping and complaining of his immediate 
hunger. It was, I know, a night and a day, but 
to me it seemed it seems now an intermin- 
able length of time. 

And so our widened incompatibility ended 
at last in open conflict. For two vast days we 
struggled in undertones and wrestling contests. 
There were times when I beat and kicked him 
madly, times when I cajoled and persuaded 
him, and once I tried to bribe him with the last 
bottle of burgundy, for there was a rain-water 
pump from which I could get water. But 
neither force nor kindness availed : he was 
indeed beyond reason. He would neither 
desist from his attacks on the tood nor from his 
noisy babbling to himself. The rudimentary 
precautions to keep our imprisonment endur- 
able he would not observe. Slowly I began to 
realize the complete overthrow of his intelli- 
gence, to perceive that my sole companion in 
this close and sickly darkness was a man in- 
sane. 

From certain vague memories I am inclined 
to think my own mind wandered at times. I 
had strange and hideous dreams whenever I 
slept. It sounds strange, but I am inclined to 









The Death of the Curate 229 

think that the weakness and insanity of the 
curate warned me, braced me and kept me a 
sane man. 

On the eighth day he began to talk aloud 
instead of whisper, and nothing I could do 
would moderate his speech. 

' It is just, O God !' he would say over and 
over again. ' It is just. On me and mine be 
the punishment laid. We have sinned, we 
have fallen short. There was poverty, sorrow ; 
the poor were trodden in the dust, and I held 
my peace. I preached acceptable folly my 
God, what folly ! when I should have stood 
up, though I died for it, and called upon them 
to repent repent ! . . . Oppressors of the poor 
and needy. . . . The winepress of God !' 

Then he would suddenly revert to the matter 
of the food I withheld from him, praying, beg- 
ging, weeping, at last threatening. He began 
to raise his voice I prayed him not to ; he 
perceived a hold on me he threatened he 
would shout and bring the Martians upon us. 
For a time that scared me ; but any concession 
would have shortened our chance of escape 
beyond estimating. I defied him, although I 
felt no assurance that he might not do this 
thing. But that day, at any rate, he did not. 
He talked with his voice rising slowly, through 



230 



The War of the Worlds 



the greater part of the eighth and ninth days- 
threats, entreaties, mingled with a torrent 01 
half-sane and always frothy repentance for his 
vacant sham of God's service, such as made me 
pity him. Then he slept awhile, and began 
again with renewed strength, so loudly that I 
must needs make him desist. 

' Be still !' I implored. 

He rose to his knees, for he had been sitting 
in the darkness near the copper. 

' I have been still too long,' he said in a tone 
that must have reached the pit, ' and now I 
must bear my witness. Woe unto this unfaith- 
ful city ! Woe ! woe ! Woe ! woe ! woe ! to the 
inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other 
voices of the trumpet ' 

' Shut up !' I said, rising to my feet, and in 
terror lest the Martians should hear us. ' Foi 
God's sake ' 

' Nay,' shouted the curate at the top of hi 
voice, standing likewise and extending 
arms. ' Speak ! The word of the Lord is 
upon me.' 

In three strides he was at the door into the 
kitchen. 

' I must bear my witness. I go. It 
already been too long delayed.' 

I put out my hand and felt the meat-chopper 



The Death of the Curate 2 3 1 

hanging to the wall. In a flash I was after 
him. I was fierce with fear. Before he was 
half-way across the kitchen I had overtaken 
him. With one last touch of humanity I turned 
the blade back and struck him with the butt. 
He went headlong forward, and lay stretched on 
the ground. I stumbled over him, and stood 
panting. He lay still. 

Abruptly I heard a noise without, the run 
and smash of slipping plaster, and the triangular 
aperture in the wall was darkened. I looked 
up and saw the lower surface of a Handling 
Machine coming slowly across the hole. One 
of its gripping limbs curled amidst the debris ; 
another limb appeared, feeling its way over the 
fallen beams. I stood petrified, staring. Then 
I saw through a sort of glass plate near the 
edge of the body the face, as we may call it, 
and the large dark eyes of a Martian peering, 
and then a long metallic snake of tentacle came 
feeling slowly through the hole. 

I turned by an effort, stumbled over the 
curate, and stopped at the scullery door. The 
tentacle was now some way, two yards or more, 
in the room, and twisting and turning with 
queer sudden movements, this way and that. 
For a while I stood fascinated by that slow, 
fitful advance. Then, with a faint, hoarse cry, 



232 The War of the Worlds 

I forced myself across the scullery. I trembled 
violently ; I could scarcely stand upright. I 
opened the door of the coal-cellar, and stood 
there in the darkness, staring at the faintly lit 
doorway into the kitchen, and listening. Had 
the Martian seen me ? What was it doing 
now? 

Something was moving to and fro there, very 
quietly ; every now and then it tapped against 
the wall, or started on its movements with a 
faint metallic ringing, like the movement of 
keys on a split-ring. Then a heavy body I 
knew too well what was dragged across the 
floor of the kitchen towards the opening. Irre- 
sistibly attracted, I crept to the door and peeped 
into the kitchen. In the triangle of bright 
outer sunlight I saw the Martian in its Briareus 
of a Handling Machine, scrutinizing the curate's 
head. I thought at once that it would infer 
my presence from the mark of the blow I had 
given him. 

I crept back to the coal-cellar, shut the door, 
and began to cover myself up as much as I 
could, and as noiselessly as possible, in the 
darkness, among the firewood and coal therein. 
Every now and then I paused rigid, to hear if 
the Martian had thrust its tentacle through the 
opening again. 






The Death of the Curate 233 

Then the faint metallic jingle returned. I 
traced it slowly feeling over the kitchen. 
Presently I heard it nearer in the scullery, as 
I judged. I thought that its length might be 
insufficient to reach me. I prayed copiously. 
It passed, scraping faintly across the cellar door. 
An age of almost intolerable suspense inter- 
vened ; then I heard it fumbling at the latch. 
It had found the door ! The Martian under- 
stood doors ! 

It worried at the catch for a minute, perhaps, 
and then the door opened. 

In the darkness I could just see the thing 
like an elephant trunk more than anything else 
waving towards me and touching and examin- 
ing the wall, coals, wood, and ceiling. It was 
like a black worm swaying its blind head to and 
fro. 

Once, even, it touched the heel of my boot. 
I was on the verge of screaming ; I bit my 
hand. For a time it was silent. I could have 
fancied it had been withdrawn. Presently, with 
an abrupt click, it gripped something I thought 
[j: had me ! and seemed to go out of the cellar 
again. For a minute I was not sure. Apparently, 
it had taken a lump of coal to examine. 

I seized the opportunity of slightly shifting 
my position, which had become cramped, and 



234 The War of the Worlds 

listened. I whispered passionate prayers for 
safety. 

Then I heard the slow, deliberate sound 
creeping towards me again. Slowly, slowly it 
drew near, scratching against walls and tapping 
furniture 

While I was still doubtful, it rapped smartly 
against the cellar door and closed it. I heard 
it go into the pantry, and the biscuit-tins rattled 
and a bottle smashed, and then came a heavy 
bump against the cellar door. Then silence, 
that passed into an infinity of suspense. 

Had it gone ? 

At last I decided that it had. 

It came into the scullery no more ; but I lay 
all the tenth day, in the close darkness, buried 
among coals and firewood, not daring even to 
crawl out for the drink for which I craved. It 
was the eleventh day before I ventured so far 
from my security. 




V. 

THE STILLNESS. 

MY first act, before I went into the pantry, was 
to fasten the door between kitchen and scullery. 
But the pantry was empty ; every scrap of food 
had gone. Apparently, the Martian had taken 
it all on the previous day. At that discovery I 
despaired for the first time. I took no food and 
no drink either on the eleventh or the twelfth 
day. 

At first my mouth and throat were parched, 
and my strength ebbed sensibly. I sat about 
in the darkness of the scullery, in a state of 
despondent wretchedness. My mind ran on 
eating. I thought I had become deaf, for the 
noises of movement I had been accustomed to 
hear from the pit ceased absolutely. I did not 
feel strong enough to crawl noiselessly to the 
peephole, or I would have gone there. 

On the twelfth day my throat was so painful 
that, taking the chance of alarming the Martians, 
I attacked the creaking rain-water pump that 



236 The War of the Worlds 

stood by the sink, and got a couple of glassfuls 
of blackened and tainted rain-water. I was 
greatly refreshed by this, and emboldened by 
the fact that no inquiring tentacle followed the 
noise of my pumping. 

During these days I thought much of the 
curate, and of the manner of his death, in a 
rambling, inconclusive manner. 

On the thirteenth day I drank some more 
water, and dozed and thought disjointedly of 
eating and of vague impossible plans of escape. 
Whenever I dozed, I dreamt of horrible phan- 
tasms, of the death of the curate, or of 
sumptuous dinners ; but, sleeping or awake, I 
felt a keen pain that urged me to drink again 
and again. The light that came into the 
scullery was no longer grey but red. To my 
disordered imagination it seemed the colour of 
blood. 

On the fourteenth day I went into the kitchen, 
and I was surprised to find that the fronds of 
the Red Weed had grown right across the hole 
in the wall, turning the half-light of the place 
into a crimson-coloured obscurity. 

It was early on the fifteenth day that I heard 
a curious familiar sequence of sounds in the 
kitchen, and, listening, identified it as the snuff- 
ing and scratching of a dog. Going into the 



The Stillness 237 

kitchen, I saw a dog's nose peering in through 
a break among the ruddy fronds. This greatly 
surprised me. At the scent of me he barked 
shortly. 

I thought if I could induce him to come into 
the place quietly I should be able, perhaps, to 
kill and eat him, and in any case it would be 
advisable to kill him, lest his actions attracted 
the attention of the Martians. 

I crept forward, saying ' Good dog !' very 
softly ; but he suddenly withdrew his head and 
disappeared. 

I listened I was not deaf but certainly the 
pit was still. I heard a sound like the flutter of 
a bird's wings, and a hoarse croaking, but that 
was all. 

For a long while I lay close to the peephole, 
but not daring to move aside the red plants 
that obscured it. Once or twice I heard a faint 
pitter-patter like the feet of the dog going 
hither and thither on the sand far below me, 
and there were more bird-like sounds, but that 
was all. At length, encouraged by the silence, 
4 looked out. 

Except in the corner, where a multitude of 
crows hopped and fought over the skeletons of 
the dead the Martians had consumed, there 
was not a living thing in the pit. 



238 The War of the Worlds 

I stared about me, scarcely believing my 
eyes. All the machinery had gone. Save for 
the big mound of grayish-blue powder in one 
corner, certain bars of aluminium in another, 
the black birds and the skeletons of the killed, 
the place was merely an empty circular pit in 
the sand. 

Slowly I thrust myself out through the red 
weed, and stood up on the mound of rubble. 
I could see in any direction save behind me, 
to the north, and neither Martian nor sign of 
Martian was to be seen. The pit dropped 
sheerly from my feet, but a little way along, 
the rubbish afforded a practicable slope to the 
summit of the ruins. My chance of escape 
had come. I began to tremble. 

I hesitated for some time, and then, in a gust 
of desperate resolution and with a heart that 
throbbed violently, I scrambled to the top of 
the mound in which I had been buried so long. 

I looked about again. To the northward, 
too, no Martian was visible. 

When I had last seen this part of Sheen in 
the daylight, it had been a straggling street of 
comfortable white and red houses, interspersed 
with abundant shady trees. Now I stood on a 
mound of smashed brickwork, clay and gravel, 
over which spread a multitude of red cactus- 



The Stillness 239 

shaped plants, knee-high, without a solitary 
terrestrial growth to dispute their footing. The 
trees near me were dead and brown, but further, 
a network of red threads scaled the still living 
stems. 

The neighbouring houses had all been 
wrecked, but none had been burned ; their walls 
stood sometimes to the second story, with 
smashed windows and shattered doors. The 
Red Weed grew tumultuously in their roofless 
rooms. Below me was the great pit, with the 
crows struggling for its refuse. A number of 
other birds hopped about among the ruins. 
Far away I saw a gaunt cat slink crouchingly 
along a wall, but traces of men there were 
none. 

The day seemed, by contrast with my recent 
confinement, dazzlingly bright, the sky a glow- 
ing blue. A gentle breeze kept the Red Weed, 
that covered every scrap of unoccupied ground, 
gently swaying. And oh ! the sweetness of 
the air ! 



VI. 

THE WORK OF FIFTEEN DAYS. 

FOR some time I stood tottering on the mound, 
regardless of my safety. Within that noisome 
den from which I had emerged, I had thought 
with a narrow intensity only of our immediate 
security. I had not realized what had been 
happening to the world, had not anticipated 
this startling vision of unfamiliar things. I 
had expected to see Sheen in ruins I found 
about me the landscape, weird and lurid, of 
another planet. 

For that moment I touched an emotion 
beyond the common range of men, yet one 
that the poor brutes we dominate know only 
too well. I felt as a rabbit might feel return- 
ing to his burrow, and suddenly confronted by 
the work of a dozen busy navvies digging the 
foundations of a house. I felt the first inkling 
of a thing that presently grew quite clear in 
my mind, that oppressed me for many days, a 
sense of dethronement, a persuasion that I was 



The Work of Fifteen Days 241 

no longer a master, but an animal among the 
animals, under the Martian heel. With us it 
would be as with them, to lurk and watch, to 
run and hide ; the fear and empire of man had 
passed away. 

But so soon as this strangeness had been 
realized, it passed, and my dominant motive 
became the hunger of my long and dismal fast. 
In the direction away from the pit, I saw, be- 
yond a red-covered wall, a patch of garden 
ground unburied. This gave me a hint, and I 
went knee-deep, and sometimes neck-deep, in 
the Red Weed. The density of the weed gave 
me a reassuring sense of hiding. The wall 
was some six feet high and when I attempted 
to clamber it I found I could not lift my feet to 
the crest. So I went along by the side of it, 
and came to a corner and a rockwork that 
enabled me to get to the top and tumble into 
the garden I coveted. Here I found some 
young onions, a couple of gladiolus bulbs, and 
a quantity of immature carrots, all of which I 
secured, and, scrambling over a ruined wall, 
j^ent on my way through scarlet and crimson 
trees towards Kew it was like walking through 
an avenue of gigantic blood-drops possessed 
with two ideas : to get more food, and to limp, 
as soon and as far as my strength permitted, 

16 



242 The War of the Worlds 

out of this accursed unearthly region of the 
pit. 

Some way further, in a grassy place, was a 
group of mushrooms, which I also devoured, 
and then I came upon a brown sheet of flowing 
shallow water, where meadows used to be. 
These fragments of nourishment served only 
to whet my hunger. At first I was surprised 
at this flood in a hot, dry summer, but after- 
wards I discovered that this was caused by the 
tropical exuberance of the Red Weed. Directly 
this extraordinary growth encountered water, 
it straightway became gigantic and of unparal- 
leled fecundity. Its seeds were simply poured 
down into the water of the Wey and Thames, 
and its swiftly-growing and Titanic water- 
fronds speedily choked both these rivers. 

At Putney, as I afterwards saw, the bridge 
was almost lost in a tangle of this weed, and at 
Richmond, too, the Thames water poured in a 
broad and shallow stream across the meadows 
of Hampton and Twickenham. As the waters 
spread the weed followed them, until the ruined 
villas of the Thames Valley were for a time lost 
in this red swamp, whose margin I explored, 
and much of the desolation the Martians had 
caused was concealed. 

In the end the Red Weed succumbed almost 






The Work of Fifteen Days 243 

as quickly as it spread. A cankering disease, 
due, it is believed, to the action of certain 
bacteria, presently seized upon it. Now, by 
the action of natural selection, all terrestrial 
plants have acquired a resisting power against 
bacterial diseases they never succumb without 
a severe struggle ; but the Red Weed rotted 
like a thing already dead. The fronds became 
bleached, and then shrivelled and brittle. They 
broke off at the least touch, and the waters that 
had stimulated their early growth carried their 
last vestiges out to sea. . . . 

My first act on coming to this water was, of 
course, to slake my thirst. I drank a great 
bulk of water, and, moved by an impulse, 
gnawed some fronds of Red Weed ; but they 
were watery, and had a sickly metallic taste. I 
found the water was sufficiently shallow for me 
to wade securely, although the Red Weed im- 
peded my feet a little ; but the flood evidently 
got deeper towards the river, and I turned back 
towards Mortlake. I managed to make out 
the road by means of occasional ruins of its 
villas and fences and lamps, and so presently 
I got out of this spate, and made my way to 
the hill going up towards Roehampton, and 
came out on Putney Common. 

Here the scenery changed from the strange 

1 6 2 



244 The War of the Worlds 

and unfamiliar to the wreckage of the familiar ; 
patches of ground exhibited the devastation of 
a cyclone, and in a few score yards I would 
come upon perfectly undisturbed spaces, houses 
with their blinds trimly drawn and doors closed, 
as if they had been left for a day by the owners, 
or as if their inhabitants slept within. The Red 
Weed was less abundant ; the tall trees along 
the lane were free from the red creeper. I 
hunted for food among the trees, finding nothing, 
and I also raided a couple of silent houses, but 
they had already been broken into and ran- 
sacked. I rested for the remainder of the day- 
light in a shrubbery, being, in my enfeebled 
condition, too fatigued to push on. 

All this time I saw no human beings, and n< 
signs of the Martians. I encountered a couple 
of hungry-looking dogs, but both hurried cir- 
cuitously away from the advances I made them. 
Near Roehampton I had seen two human 
skeletons not bodies, but skeletons, picked 
clean and in the wood by me I found the 
crushed and scattered bones of several cats and 
rabbits, and the skull of a sheep. But though 
I gnawed parts of these in my mouth, there 
was nothing to be got from them. 

After sunset, I struggled on along the road 
towards Putney, where I think the Heat- Ray 



The Work of Fifteen Days 245 

must have been used for some reason. And in a 
garden beyond Roehampton I got a quantity of 
immature potatoes sufficient to stay my hunger. 
From this garden one saw down upon Putney 
and the river. The aspect of the place in the 
dusk was singularly desolate : blackened trees, 
blackened, desolate ruins, and down the hill the 
sheets of the flooded river, red-tinged with the 
weed. And over all silence. It filled me with 
indescribable terror to think how swiftly that 
desolating change had come. 

For a time I believed that mankind had been 
swept out of existence, and that I stood there 
alone, the last man left alive. Hard by the top 
of Putney Hill I came upon another skeleton, 
with the arms dislocated and removed several 
yards from the rest of the body. As I pro- 
ceeded. I became more and more convinced that 
the extermination of mankind was, save for such 
stragglers as myself, already accomplished in 
this part of the world. The Martians, I 
thought, had gone on, and left the country 
desolated, seeking food elsewhere. Perhaps 
even now they were destroying Berlin or 
Paris, or it might be they had gone north- 
ward. 



VII. 

THE MAN ON PUTNEY HILL. 

I SPENT that night in the inn that stands at the 
top of Putney Hill, sleeping in a made bed for 
the first time since my flight to Leatherhead. 
I will not tell the needless trouble I had break- 
ing into that house afterwards I found the 
front-door was on the latch nor how I ran- 
sacked every room for food, until, just on the 
verge of despair, in what seemed to me to be a 
servant's bedroom, I found a rat-gnawed crust 
and two tinned pineapples. The place had 
been already searched and emptied. In the 
bar I afterwards found some biscuits and sand- 
wiches that had been overlooked. The latter 
I could not eat, but the former not only stayed 
my hunger, but filled my pockets. I lit no 
lamps, fearing some Martian might come beat- 
ing that part of London for food in the night. 
Before I went to bed I had an interval of rest- 
lessness, and prowled from window to window, 
peering out for some sign of these monsters. I 



The Man on Putney Hill 247 

slept little. As I lay in bed I found myself 
thinking consecutively a thing I do not re- 
member to have done since my last argument 
with the curate. During all the intervening 
time my mental condition had been a hurrying 
succession of vague emotional states, or a sort 
of stupid receptivity. But in the night my 
brain, reinforced, I suppose, by the food I had 
eaten, grew clear again, and I thought. 

Three things struggled for possession of my 
mind : the killing of the curate, the whereabouts 
of the Martians, and the possible fate of my 
wife. The former gave me no sensation of 
horror or remorse to recall ; I saw it simply as 
a thing done, a memory infinitely disagreeable, 
but quite without the quality of remorse. I 
saw myself then as I see myself now, driven 
step by step towards that hasty blow, the 
creature of a sequence of accidents leading 
inevitably to that. I felt no condemnation ; 
yet the memory, static, unprogressive, haunted 
me. In the silence of the night, with that sense 
of the nearness of God that sometimes comes 
into the stillness and the darkness, I stood my 
trial, my only trial, for that moment of wrath 
and fear. I retraced every step of our con- 
^ versation from the moment when I had found 
him crouching beside me, heedless of my thirst, 



248 The War of the Worlds 

and pointing to the fire and smoke that streamed 
up from the ruins of Weybridge. We had 
been incapable of co-operation grim chance 
had taken no heed of that. Had I foreseen, I 
should have left him at Halliford. But I did 
not foresee ; and crime is to foresee and do. 
And I set this down as I have set all this story 
down, as it was. There were no witnesses- 
all these things I might have concealed. But 
I set it down, and the reader must form his 
judgment as he will. 

And when, by an effort, I had set aside that 
picture of a prostrate body, I faced the problem 
of the Martians and the fate of my wife. For 
the former I had no data ; I could imagine a 
hundred things, and so, unhappily, I could for 
the latter. And suddenly that night became 
terrible. I found myself sitting up in bed, 
staring at the dark. I found myself praying 
that the Heat-Ray may have suddenly and 
painlessly struck her out of being. Since the 
night of my return from Leatherhead I had not 
prayed. I had uttered prayers, fetich prayers, 
had prayed as heathens mutter charms when I 
was in extremity ; but now I prayed indeed, 
pleading steadfastly and sanely, face to face 
with the darkness of God. Strange night ! 
strangest in this, that so soon as dawn had 



The Man on Putney Hill 249 

come, I, who had talked with God, crept out of 
the house like a rat leaving its hiding-place a 
creature scarcely larger, an inferior animal, a 
thing that for any passing whim of our masters 
might be hunted and killed. Perhaps they also 
prayed confidently to God. Surely, if we have 
learnt nothing else, this war has taught us pity 
pity for those witless souls that suffer our 
dominion. 

The morning was bright and fine, and the 
eastern sky glowed pink, and was fretted with 
little golden clouds. In the road that runs from 
the top of Putney Hill to Wimbledon was a 
number of pitiful vestiges of the panic torrent 
that must have poured London ward on the 
Sunday night after the fighting began. There 
was a little two-wheeled cart inscribed with the 
name of Thomas Lobb, Greengrocer, New 
Maiden, with a smashed wheel and an aban- 
doned tin trunk ; there was a straw hat 
trampled into the now hardened mud, and 
at the top of West Hill a lot of blood-stained 
glass about the overturned water-trough. My 
movements were languid, my plans of the 
vaguest. I had an idea of going to Leather- 
head, though I knew that there I had the 
poorest chance of finding my wife. Certainly, 
unless death had overtaken them suddenly, my 



250 The War of the Worlds 

cousins and she would have fled thence ; but 
it seemed to me I might find or learn there 
whither the Surrey people had fled. I knew I 
wanted to find my wife, that my heart ached 
for her and the world of men, but I had no 
clear idea how the finding might be done. I 
was also clearly aware now of my intense 
loneliness. From the corner I went, under 
cover of a thicket of trees and bushes, to the 
edge of Wimbledon Common, stretching wide 
and far. 

That dark expanse was lit in patches by 
yellow gorse and broom ; there was no Red 
Weed to be seen, and as I prowled, hesitating, 
on the verge of the open, the sun rose, flooding 
it all with light and vitality. I came upon a 
busy swarm of little frogs in a swampy place 
among the trees. I stopped to look at them, 
drawing a lesson from their stout resolve to 
live. And presently, turning suddenly, with 
an odd feeling of being watched, I beheld 
something crouching amidst a clump of bushes. 
I stood regarding this. I made a step towards 
it, and it rose up, and became a man armed 
with a cutlass. I approached him slowly. He 
stood silent and motionless, regarding me. 

As I drew nearer, I perceived he was dressed 
in clothes as dusty and filthy as my own ; he 



The Man on Putney Hill 251 

looked, indeed, as though he had been dragged 
through a culvert. Nearer, I distinguished the 
green slime of ditches mixing with the pale 
drab of dried clay and shiny coaly patches. 
His black hair fell over his eyes, and his face 
was dark and dirty and sunken, so that at first 
I did not recognise him. There was a red cut 
across the lower part of his face. ,- 

4 Stop !' he cried, when I was within ten 
yards of him, and I stopped. His voice was 
hoarse. ' Where do you come from ?' he said. 

I thought, surveying him. 

' I come from Mortlake,' I said. ' I was 
buried near the pit the Martians made about 
their cylinder. I have worked my way out and 
escaped.' 

' There is no food about here,' he said. 
' This is my country. All this hill down to the 
river, and back to Clapham, and up to the edge 
of the Common. There is only food for one. 
Which way are you going ?' 

I answered slowly. 

' I don't know,' I said. ' I have been buried 
in the ruins of a house thirteen or fourteen days. 
I don't know what has happened.' 

He looked at me doubtfully, then started, and 
^"looked with a changed expression. 

4 I've no wish to stop about here,' said I. 'I 



252 The War of the Worlds 

think I shall go to Leatherhead, for my wife 
was there.' 

He shot out a pointing finger. 

' It is you,' said he. ' The man from Woking. 
And you weren't killed at Weybridge ?' 

I recognised him at the same moment. 

' You are the artilleryman who came into my 
garden.' 

' Good luck !' he said. ' We are lucky ones ! 
Fancy you f He put out a hand, and I took it. 
' I crawled up a drain,' he said. ' But they 
didn't kill everyone. And after they went 
away I got off towards Walton across the fields. 

But It's not sixteen days altogether and 

your hair is gray.' He looked over his shoulder 
suddenly. * Only a rook,' he said. ' One gets 
to know that birds have shadows these days. 
This is a bit open. Let us crawl under those 
bushes and talk.' 

' Have you seen any Martians ?' I said. 
' Since I crawled out ' 

' They've gone away across London,' he said. 
' I guess they've got a bigger camp there. Of 
a night, all over there, Hampstead way, the 
sky is alive with their lights. It's like a great 
city, and in the glare you can just see them 
moving. By daylight you can't. But nearer 
I haven't seen them ' He counted on his 



The Man on Putney Hill 253 

fingers. ' Five days. Then I saw a couple 
across Hammersmith way carrying something 
big. And the night before last' he stopped, 
and spoke impressively ' it was just a matter 
of lights, but it was something up in the air. 
I believe they've built a flying-machine, and are 
learning to fly.' 

I stopped, on hands and knees, for we had 
come to the bushes. 

'Fly!' 

'Yes/ he said, 'fly.' 

I went on into a little bower, and sat down. 

' It is all over with humanity,' I said. ' If 
they can do that, they will simply go round the 
world. ..." 

He nodded. 

' They will. But It will relieve things 

over here a bit. And besides ' He looked 

at me. ' Aren't you satisfied it is up with 
humanity ? I am. We're down ; we're beat.' 

I stared. Strange as it may seem, I had not 
arrived at this fact a fact perfectly obvious so 
soon as he spoke. I had still held a vague 
hope ; rather, I had kept a lifelong habit of 
mind. He repeated his words, ' We're beat. 1 
They carried absolute conviction. 

' It's all over,' he said. ' They've lost one 
just one. And they've made their footing good, 



254 The War of the Worlds 

and crippled the greatest power in the world. 
They've walked over us. The death of that 
one at Weybridge was an accident. And these 
are only pioneers. They keep on coming. 
These green stars I've seen none these five 
or six days, but I've no doubt they're falling 
somewhere every night. Nothing's to be done. 
We're under ! We're beat !' 

I made him no answer. I sat staring before 
me, trying in vain to devise some counter- 
vailing thought. 

' This isn't a war,' said the artilleryman. ' It 
never was a war, any more than there's war 
between men and ants.' 

Suddenly I recalled the night in the 
observatory. 

' After the tenth shot they fired no more at 
least, until the first cylinder came.' 

'How do you know ?' said the artilleryman. 
I explained. He thought. ' Something wrong 
with the gun,' he said. ' But what if there is ? 
They'll get it right again. And even if there's 
a delay, how can it alter the end? It's just 
men and ants. There's the ants builds their 
cities, live their lives, have wars, revolutions, 
until the men want them out of the way, and 
then they go out of the way. That's what we 
are now just ants. Only ' 



The Man on Putney Hill 255 

'Yes,' I said. 

' We're eatable ants.' 

We sat looking at each other. 

' And what will they do with us ?' I said. 

1 That's what I've been thinking,' he said 
' that's what I've been thinking. After Wey- 
bridge I went south thinking. I saw what 
was up. Most of the people were hard at 
it squealing and exciting themselves. But 
I'm not so fond of squealing. I've been in 
sight of death once or twice ; I'm not an orna- 
mental soldier, and at the best and worst, 
death it's just death. And it's the man that 
keeps on thinking comes through. I saw every- 
one tracking away south. Says I, " Food won't 
last this way," and I turned right back. I went 
for the Martians like a sparrow goes for man. 
All round ' he waved a hand to the horizon 
' they're starving in heaps, bolting, treading on 
each other. ..." 

He saw my face, and halted awkwardly. 

' No doubt lots who had money have gone 
away to France,' he said. He seemed to hesitate 
whether to apologize, met my eyes, and went 
on : ' There's food all about here. Canned 
things in shops ; wines, spirits, mineral waters ; 
and the water mains and drains are empty. 
Well, I was telling you what I was thinking. 



256 



The War of the Worlds 



" Here's intelligent things," I said, " and it 
seems they want us for food. First, they'll 
smash us up ships, machines, guns, cities, all 
the order and organization. All that will go. 
If we were the size of ants, we might pull 
through. But we're not. It's all too bulky tc 
stop. That's the first certainty." Eh ?' 

I assented. 

' It is ; I've thought it out. Very well, ther 
next : at present we're caught as we're wantec 
A Martian has only to go a few miles to get 
crowd on the run. And I saw one, one da} 
out by Wandsworth, picking houses to piec< 
and routing among the wreckage. But thej 
won't keep on doing that. So soon as they've 
settled all our guns and ships, and smashed oui 
railways, and done all the things they ar 
doing over there, they will begin catching uj 
systematic, picking the best and storing us ii 
cages and things. That's what they will stai 
doing in a bit. Lord ! they haven't begun 01 
us yet. Don't you see that ?' 

' Not begun !' I exclaimed. 

' Not begun. All that's happened so far is 
through our not having the sense to keep quiet 
worrying them with guns and such fooler 
And losing our heads, and rushing off in crowc 
to where there wasn't any more safety thai 



The Man on Putney Hill 257 

where we were. They don't want to bother us 
yet. They're making their things making all 
the things they couldn't bring with them, get- 
ting things ready for the rest of their people. 
Very likely that's why the cylinders have 
stopped for a bit, for fear of hitting those who 
are here. And instead of our rushing about 
blind, on the howl, or getting dynamite on the 
chance of busting them up, we've got to fix 
ourselves up according to the new state of 
affairs. That's how I figure it out. It isn't 
quite according to what a man wants for his 
species, but it's about what the facts point to. 
And that's the principle I acted upon. Cities, 
nations, civilization, progress it's all over. 
That game's up. We're beat.' 

' But if that is so, what is there to live for ?' 

The artilleryman looked at me for a moment. 

' There won't be any more blessed concerts 
for a million years or so ; there won't be any 
Royal Academy of Arts, and no nice little feeds 
at restaurants. If it's amusement you're after, 
I reckon the game is up. If you've got any 
drawing-room manners, or a dislike to eating 
peas with a knife or dropping aitches, you'd 
better chuck 'em away. They ain't no further 
j&se.' 

' You mean ' 

17 



2 5 8 



The War of the Worlds 



' I mean, that men like me are going on 
living for the sake of the breed. I tell you, 
I'm grim set on living. And, if I'm not mis- 
taken, you'll show what insides youve got, too, 
before long. We aren't going to be exter- 
minated. And I don't mean to be caught, 
either, and tamed and fattened and bred like 
a thundering ox. Ugh ! Fancy those brown 
creepers !' 

' You don't mean to say ' 

' I do. I'm going on. Under their feet. 
I've got it planned ; I've thought it out. We 
men are beat. We don't know enough. We've 
got to learn before we've got a chance. And 
we've got to live, and keep independent while 
we learn. See ? That's what has to be done.' 

I stared, astonished, and stirred profoundly 
by the man's resolution. 

' Great God !' cried I. 'But you are a man 
indeed !' And suddenly I gripped his hand. 

' Eh ?' he said, with his eyes shining. ' I've 
thought it out, eh ?' 

' Go on/ I said. 

' Well, those who mean to escape their catch- 
ing must get ready. I'm getting ready. Mind 
you, it isn't all of us are made for wild beasts ; 
and that's what it's got to be. That's why I 
watched you. I had my doubts. You're thin 



The Man on Putney Hill 259 

and slender. I didn't know it was you, you 
see, or just how you'd been buried. All 
these the sort of people that lived in these 
houses, and all those damn little clerks that 
used to live down that way they'd be no 
good. They haven't any spirit in them no 
proud dreams and no proud lusts ; and a man 
who hasn't one or the other Lord ! what is he 
but funk and precautions ? They just used to 
skedaddle off to work I've seen hundreds of 
'em, bit of breakfast in hand, running wild and 
shining to catch their little season-ticket train, 
for fear they'd get dismissed if they didn't ; 
working at businesses they were afraid to take 
the trouble to understand ; skedaddling back 
for fear they wouldn't be in time for dinner ; 
keeping indoors after dinner for fear of the 
back-streets ; and sleeping with the wives they 
married, not because they wanted them, but 
because they had a bit of money that would 
make for safety in their one little miserable 
skedaddle through the world. Lives insured 
and a bit invested for fear of accidents. And 
on Sundays fear of the hereafter. As if hell 
was built for rabbits ! Well, the Martians will 
just be a godsend to these. Nice roomy cages, 
fattening food, careful breeding, no worry. 
After a week or so chasing about the fields and 

17 2 



260 The War of the Worlds 

lands on empty stomachs, they'll come and be 
caught cheerful. They'll be quite glad after a 
bit. They'll wonder what people did before 
there were Martians to take care of them. 
And the bar-loafers, and mashers, and singers 
I can imagine them. I can imagine them,' 
he said, with a sort of sombre gratification. 
' There'll be any amount of sentiment and 
religion loose among them. There's hundreds 
of things I saw with my eyes, that I've only 
begun to see clearly these last few days. 
There's lots will take things as they are, fat 
and stupid ; and lots will be worried by a sort 
of feeling that it's all wrong, and that they 
ought to be doing something. Now, when- 
ever things are so that a lot of people feel 
they ought to be doing something, the weak, 
and those who go weak with a lot of compli- 
cated thinking, always make for a sort of do- 
nothing religion, very pious, and superior, and 
submit to persecution and the will of the 
Lord. Very likely you've seen the same 
thing. It's energy in a gale of funk, and 
turned clean inside out. These cages will be 
full of psalms and hymns and piety. And 
those of a less simple sort will work in a bit 
of what is it ? eroticism.' 
He paused. 



The Man on Putney Hill 261 

' Very likely these Martians will make pets 
of some of them ; train them to do tricks who 
knows ? get sentimental over the pet boy 
who grew up and had to be killed. And 
some, maybe, they will train to hunt us.' 

' No,' I cried, ' that's impossible ! No human 
being ' 

' What's the good of going on with such 
lies ?' said the artilleryman. ' There's men 
who'd do it cheerful. What nonsense to 
pretend there isn't !' 

And I succumbed to his conviction. 

* If they come after me,' he said ' Lord ! 
if they come after me !' and subsided into a 
grim meditation. 

I sat contemplating these things. I could 
find nothing to bring against this man's reason- 
ing. In the days before the invasion no one 
would have questioned my intellectual superi- 
ority to his I, a professed and recognised 
writer on philosophical themes, and he, a 
common soldier and yet he had already 
formulated a situation that I had scarcely 
realized. 

' What are you doing ?' I said presently. 
' What plans have you made ?' 

He hesitated. 

'Well, it's like this,' he said. 'What have 



262 The War of the Worlds 

we to do ? We have to invent a sort of life 
where men can live and breed, and be suffi- 
ciently secure to bring the children up. Yes- 
wait a bit, and I'll make it clearer what I think 
ought to be done. The tame ones will go like 
all tame beasts ; in a few generations they'll be 
big, beautiful, rich-blooded, stupid rubbish ! 
The risk is that we who keep wild will go 
savage degenerate into a sort of big savage 
rat. . . . You see, how I mean to live is under- 
ground. I've been thinking about the drains. 
Of course, those who don't know drains think 
horrible things ; but under this London are 
miles and miles hundreds of miles and a 
few days' rain and London empty will leave 
them sweet and clean. The main drains are 
big enough and airy enough for anyone. Then 
there's cellars, vaults, stores, from which bolting 
passages may be made to the drains. And the 
railway tunnels and subways. Eh ? You begin 
to see ? And we form a band able-bodied, 
clean-minded men. We're not going to pick 
up any rubbish that drifts in. Weaklings go 
out again.' 

' As you meant me to go ?' 

'Well I parleyed, didn't I ?' 

' We won't quarrel about that. Go on.' 

' Those who stop, obey orders. Able-bodied, 



The Man on Putney Hill 263 

clean-minded women we want also mothers 
and teachers. No lackadaisical ladies no 
blasted rolling eyes. We can't have any weak 
or silly. Life is real again, and the useless 
and cumbersome and mischievous have to die. 
They ought to die. They ought to be willing 
to die. It's a sort of disloyalty, after all, to live 
and taint the race. And they can't be happy. 
Moreover, dying's none so dreadful ; it's the 
funking makes it bad. And in all those places 
we shall gather. Our district will be London. 
And we may even be able to keep a watch, 
and run about in the open when the Martians 
keep away. Play cricket, perhaps. That's 
how we shall save the race. Eh ? It's a 
possible thing ? But saving the race is nothing 
in itself. As I say, that's only being rats. It's 
saving our knowledge and adding to it is the 
thing. There men like you come in. There's 
books, there's models. We must make great 
safe places down deep, and get all the books 
we can ; not novels and poetry swipes, but 
ideas, science books. That's where men like 
you come in. We must go to the British 
Museum and pick all those books through. 
Especially we must keep up our science learn 
more. We must watch these Martians. Some 
of us must go as spies. When it's all working, 



264 The War of the Worlds 

perhaps I will. Get caught, I mean. And 
the great thing is, we must leave the Martians 
alone. We mustn't even steal. If we get in 
their way, we clear out. We must show them 
we mean no harm. Yes, I know. But they're 
intelligent things, and they won't hunt us down 
if they have all they want, and think we're just 
harmless vermin.' 

The artilleryman paused, and laid a brown 
hand upon my arm. 

1 After all, it may not be so much we may 

have to learn before Just imagine this : 

Four or five of their Fighting Machines sud- 
denly starting off Heat-Rays right and left, 
and not a Martian in 'em. Not a Martian in 'em, 
but men men who have learnt the way how. 
It may be in my time, even those men. Fancy 
having one of them lovely things, with its 
Heat- Ray wide and free ! Fancy having it in 
control ! What would it matter if you smashed 
to smithereens at the end of the run, after a 
bust like that ? I reckon the Martians '11 open 
their beautiful eyes ! Can't you see them, man ? 
Can't you see them hurrying, hurrying puffing 
and blowing and hooting to their other mechani- 
cal affairs ? Something out of gear in every 
case. And swish, bang, rattle, swish ! just as 
they are fumbling over it, swisk comes the 



The Man on Putney Hill 265 

Heat- Ray, and, behold ! man has come back 
to his own.' 

For a while the imaginative daring of the 
artilleryman, and the tone of assurance and 
courage he assumed, completely dominated my 
mind. I believed unhesitatingly both in his 
forecast of human destiny and in the practica- 
bility of his astonishing scheme, and the reader 
who thinks me susceptible and foolish must 
contrast his position, reading steadily, with all 
his thoughts about his subject, and mine, 
crouching fearfully in the bushes and listening, 
distracted by apprehension. We talked in this 
manner through the early morning time, and 
later crept out of the bushes, and, after scanning 
the sky for Martians, hurried precipitately to 
the house on Putney Hill where he had made 
his lair. It was the coal-cellar of the place, and 
when I saw the work he had spent a week 
upon it was a burrow scarcely ten yards long, 
which he designed to reach to the main drain 
on Putney Hill I had my first inkling of the 
gulf between his dreams and his powers. Such 
a hole I could have dug in a day. But I 
believed in him sufficiently to work with him all 
that morning until past mid-day at his digging. 
Ve had a garden barrow, and shot the earth we 
removed against the kitchen range. We re- 



266 The War of the Worlds 






freshed ourselves with a tin of mock-turtle soup 
and wine from the neighbouring pantry. I 
found a curious relief from the aching strange- 
ness of the world in this steady labour. As we 
worked, I turned his project over in my mind, 
and presently objections and doubts began to 
arise ; but I worked there all the morning, so 
glad was I to find myself with a purpose again. 
After working an hour, I began to speculate on 
the distance one had to go before the cloaca 
was reached the chances we had of missing it 
altogether. My immediate trouble was why we 
should dig this long tunnel, when it was possible 
to get into the drain at once down one of the 
manholes, and work back to the house. It 
seemed to me, too, that the house was incon- 
veniently chosen, and required a needless length 
of tunnel. And just as I was beginning to face 
these things, the artilleryman stopped digging, 
and looked at me. 

' We're working well,' he said. He put 
down his spade. ' Let us knock off a bit/ he 
said. ' I think it's time we reconnoitred from 
the roof of the house.' 

I was for going on, and after a little hesita- 
tion he resumed his spade ; and then suddenly 
I was struck by a thought. I stopped, and so 
did he at once. 



The Man on Putney Hill 267 

* Why were you walking about the Common,' 
I said, ' instead of being here ?' 

' Taking the air/ he said. ' I was coming 
back. It's safer by night.' 

' But the work ?' 

' Oh, one can't always work,' he said, and in 
a flash I saw the man plain. He hesitated, 
holding his spade. ' We ought to reconnoitre 
now,' he said, ' because if any come near they 
may hear the spades and drop upon us un- 
aware.' 

I was no longer disposed to object. We 
went together to the roof and stood on a ladder 
peeping out of the roof door. No Martians 
were to be seen, and we ventured out on the 
tiles, and slipped down under shelter of the 
parapet. 

From this position a shrubbery hid the 
greater portion of Putney, but we could see the 
river below, a bubbly mass of Red Weed, and 
the low parts of Lambeth flooded and red. 
The red creeper swarmed up the trees about 
the old palace, and their branches stretched 
gaunt and dead, and set with shrivelled leaves, 
from amidst its clusters. It was strange how 
entirely dependent both these things were upon 
^flowing water for their propagation. About us 
neither had gained a footing ; laburnums, pink 



268 The War of the Worlds 

mays, snowballs, and trees of arbor vitae, ro 
out of laurels and hydrangeas, green an 
brilliant, into the sunlight. Beyond Kensin 
ton dense smoke was rising, and that and 
blue haze hid the northward hills. 

The artilleryman began to tell me of the so 
of people who still remained in London. 

'One night last week,' he said, 'some fool 
got the electric light in order, and there was a 
Regent's Street and the Circus ablaze, crowde 
with painted and ragged drunkards, men an 
women, dancing and shouting till dawn, 
man who was there told me. And as the da 
came they beheld a Fighting Machine standin 
near by the Langham, and looking down a 
them. Heaven knows how long he had bee 
there. He came down the road towards them 
and picked up nearly a hundred too drunk o 
frightened to run away.' 

Grotesque gleam of a time no history wil 
ever fully describe ! 

From that, in answer to my questions, he 
came round to his grandiose plans again. He 
grew enthusiastic. He talked so eloquently of 
the possibility of capturing a Fighting Machine, 
that I more than half believed in him again. 
But now that I was beginning to understand 
something of his quality, I could divine th 






The Man on Putney Hill 269 

stress he laid on doing nothing precipitately. 
And I noted that now there was no question 
that he personally was to capture and fight the 
great machine. 

After a time we went down to the cellar. 
Neither of us seemed disposed to resume dig- 
ging, and when he suggested a meal, I was 
nothing loath. He became suddenly very 
generous, and when we had eaten he went 
away, and returned with some excellent cigars. 
We lit these, and his optimism glowed. He 
was inclined to regard my coming as a great 
occasion. 

' There's some champagne in the cellar,' he 
said. 

'We can dig better on this Thames-side 
burgundy,' said I. 

' No,' said he ; ' I am host to-day. Cham- 
pagne ! Great God ! we've a heavy enough 
task before us ! Let us take a rest, and gather 
strength while we may. Look at these blistered 
hands !' 

And pursuant to this idea of a holiday, he 
insisted upon playing cards after we had eaten. 
He taught me euchre, and after dividing London 
between us, I taking the northern side, and he 
the southern, we played for parish points. 
Grotesque and foolish as this will seem to the 



270 The War of the Worlds 

sober reader, it is absolutely true, and what 
is more remarkable, I found the card game 
and several others we played extremely in- 
teresting. 

Strange mind of man ! that, with our species 
upon the edge of extermination or appalling 
degradation, with no clear prospect before us 
but the chance of a horrible death, we could 
sit following the chance of this painted paste- 
board and playing the 'joker' with vivid 
delight. Afterwards he taught me poker, 
and I beat him at three tough chess games. 
When dark came we were so interested that 
we decided to take the risk and light a 
lamp. 

After an interminable string of games, we 
supped, and the artilleryman finished the cham- 
pagne. We continued smoking the cigars. He 
was no longer the energetic regenerator of his 
species I had encountered in the morning. He 
was still optimistic, but it was a less kinetic, a 
more thoughtful optimism. I remember he 
wound up with my health, proposed in a speech 
of small variety and considerable intermittence. 
I took a cigar, and went upstairs to look at the 
lights he had spoken of, that blazed so greenly 
along the Highgate hills. 

At first I stared across the London valley, 



The Man on Putney Hill 271 

unintelligently. The northern hills were 
shrouded in darkness ; the fires near Kensing- 
ton glowed redly, and now and then an orange- 
red tongue of flame flashed up and vanished in 
the deep blue night. All the rest of London 
was black. Then, nearer, I perceived a strange 
light, a pale violet-purple fluorescent glow, 
quivering under the night breeze. For a space 
I could not understand it, and then I knew that 
it must be the Red Weed from which this faint 
irradiation proceeded. With that realization, 
my dormant sense of wonder, my sense of 
the proportion of things, awoke again. I 
glanced from that to Mars, red and clear, glow- 
ing high in the west, and then gazed long and 
earnestly at the darkness of Hampstead and 
Highgate. 

I remained a very long time upon the roof, 
wondering at the grotesque changes of the day. 
I recalled my mental states from the midnight 
prayer to the foolish card-playing. I had a 
violent revulsion of feeling. I remember I 
flung away the cigar with a certain wasteful 
symbolism. My folly came to me with glaring 
exaggeration. I seemed a traitor to my wife 
and to my kind ; I was filled with remorse. I 
resolved to leave this strange undisciplined 
dreamer of great things to his drink and 



272 



The War of the Worlds 



gluttony, and to go on into London. Thei 
it seemed to me, I had the best chance of learn- 
ing what the Martians and my fellow-men were 
doing. I was still upon the roof when the late 
moon rose. 



VIII. 

DEAD LONDON. 

AFTER I had , parted from the artilleryman, I 
went down the hill, and by the High Street 
across the bridge to Lambeth. The Red Weed 
was tumultuous at that time, and nearly choked 
the bridge roadway, but its fronds were already 
whitened in patches by the spreading disease 
that presently removed it so swiftly. 

At the corner of the lane that runs to Putney 
Bridge Station I found a man lying. He was 
as black as a sweep with the black dust, alive, 
but helplessly and speechlessly drunk. I could 
get nothing from him but curses and furious 
lunges at my head. I think I should have 
stayed by him but for the brutal type of his 
face. 

There was black dust along the roadway 
from the bridge onwards, and it grew thicker 
in Fulham. The streets were horribly quiet. 
I got food sour, hard, and mouldy, but quite 
eatable in a baker's shop here. Some way 

18 



274 The War of the Worlds 

towards Walham Green the streets became 
clear of powder, and I passed a white terrace of 
houses on fire ; the noise of the burning was ai 
absolute relief. Going on towards Brompton, 
the streets were quiet again. 

Here I came once more upon the blacl 
powder in the streets and upon dead bodies, 
saw altogether about a dozen in the length of 
the Fulham Road. They had been dead man) 
days, so that I hurried quickly past them. The 
black powder covered them over, and softenec 
their outlines. One or two had been disturbec 
by dogs. 

Where there was no black powder, it We 
curiously like a Sunday in the City, with the 
closed shops, the houses locked up and the 
blinds drawn, the desertion, and the stillness 
In some places plunderers had been at work 
but rarely at other than the provision and wine- 
shops. A jeweller's window had been broken 
open in one place, but apparently the thief hac 
been disturbed, and a number of gold chains 
and a watch were scattered on the pavement 
I did not trouble to touch them. Further on 
was a tattered woman in a heap on a doorstep 
the hand that hung over her knee was gashed 
and bled down her rusty brown dress, and a 
smashed magnum of champagne formed a pool 



Dead London 275 

across the pavement. She seemed asleep, but 
she was dead. 

The further I penetrated into London, the 
profounder grew the stillness. But it was 
not so much the stillness of death it was the 
stillness of suspense, of expectation. At any 
time the destruction that had already singed the 
north-western borders of the Metropolis, and 
had annihilated Ealing and Kilburn, might 
strike among these houses and leave them 
smoking ruins. It was a city condemned and 
derelict. . . . 

In South Kensington the streets were clear 
of dead and of black powder. It was near 
South Kensington that I first heard the howl- 
ing. It crept almost imperceptibly upon my 
senses. It was a sobbing alternation of two 
notes, ' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' keeping on per- 
petually. When I passed streets that ran 
northward, it grew in volume, and houses and 
buildings seemed to deaden and cut it off again. 
It came to a full tide down Exhibition Road. I 
stopped, staring towards Kensington Gardens, 
wondering at this strange remote wailing. It 
was as if that mighty desert of houses had 
found a voice for its fear and solitude. 

' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' wailed that superhuman 
note great waves of sound sweeping down the 

1 8 2 



276 The War of the Worlds 

broad, sunlit roadway, between the tall build- 
ings on either side. I turned northward, 
marvelling, towards the iron gates of Hyde 
Park. I had half a mind to break into the 
Natural History Museum and find my way up 
to the summits of the towers, in order to see 
across the park. But I decided to keep to the 
ground, where quick hiding was possible, and 
so went on up the Exhibition Road. All the 
large mansions on either side of the road were 
empty and still, and my footsteps echoed 
against the sides of the houses. At the top, 
near the park gate, I came upon a strange 
sight a 'bus overturned, and the skeleton of a 
horse picked clean. I puzzled over this for 
a time, and then went on to the bridge over 
the Serpentine. The Voice grew stronger 
and stronger, though I could see nothing 
above the housetops on the north side of the 
park, save a haze of smoke to the north- 
west. 

' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' cried the Voice, coming, 
as it seemed to me, from the district about 
Regent's Park. The desolating cry worked 
upon my mind. The mood that had sustained 
me passed. The wailing took possession of 
me. I found I was intensely weary, footsore, 
and now again hungry and thirsty. 



Dead London 277 

It was already past noon. Why was I 
wandering alone in this city of the dead ? 
Why was I alone when all London was lying in 
state, and in its black shroud ? I felt intolerably 
lonely. My mind ran on old friends that I had 
forgotten for years. I thought of the poisons 
in the chemists' shops, of the liquors the wine- 
merchants stored ; I recalled the two sodden 
creatures of despair who, so far as I knew, 
shared the city with myself. . . . 

I came into Oxford Street by the Marble 
Arch, and here again was black powder and 
several bodies, and an evil, ominous smell from 
the gratings of the cellars of some of the 
houses. I grew very thirsty after the heat 
of my long walk. With infinite trouble I 
managed to break into a public-house and get 
food and drink. I was weary after eating, 
and went into the parlour behind the bar, 
and slept on a black horsehair sofa I found 
there. 

I awoke to find that dismal howling still in 
my ears, ' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla.' It was now 
dusk, and after I had routed out some biscuits 
and a cheese in the bar there was a meat- 
safe, but it contained nothing but maggots I 
wandered on through the silent residential 
squares to Baker Street Portman Square is 



278 The War of the Worlds 

the only one I can name and so came out at 
last upon Regent's Park. And as I emerged 
from the top of Baker Street, I saw far away 
over the trees in the clearness of the sunset the 
hood of the Martian giant from which this 
howling proceeded. 1 was not terrified. I 
came upon him as if it were a matter of 
course. I watched him for some time, but he 
did not move. He appeared to be stand- 
ing and yelling, for no reason that I could 
discover. 

I tried to formulate a plan of action. That 
perpetual sound of ' Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla,' con- 
fused my mind. Perhaps I was too tired to be 
very fearful. Certainly I was rather curious to 
know the reason of this monotonous crying 
than afraid. I turned back away from the 
park and struck into Park Road, intending to 
skirt the park, went along under shelter of the 
terraces, and got a view of this stationary howl- 
ing Martian from the direction of St. John's 
Wood. A couple of hundred yards out of 
Baker Street I heard a yelping chorus, and 
saw, first a dog with a piece of putrescent red 
meat in his jaws coming headlong towards me, 
and then a pack of starving mongrels in pur- 
suit of him. He made a wide curve to avoid 
me, as though he feared I might prove a fresh 






Dead London 281 

competitor. As the yelping died away dowl 
the silent road, the wailing sound of ' Ulla, ulla, 
ulla, ulla,' reasserted itself. 

I came upon the wrecked Handling Machine 
halfway to St. John's Wood Station. At first 
I thought a house had fallen across the road. 
It was only as I clambered among the ruins 
that I saw, with a start, this mechanical Samson 
lying, with its tentacles bent and smashed and 
twisted, among the ruins it had made. The 
fore-part was shattered. It seemed as if it had 
driven blindly straight at the house, and had 
been overwhelmed in its overthrow. It seemed 
to me then that this might have happened by a 
Handling Machine escaping from the guidance 
of its Martian. I could not clamber among 
the ruins to see it, and the twilight was now so 
far advanced that the blood with which its seat 
was smeared, and the gnawed gristle of the 
Martian that the dogs had left, was invisible 
tq me. 

Wondering still more at all that I had seen, 
I pushed on towards Primrose Hill. Far away, 
through a gap in the trees, I saw a second 
Martian, motionless as the first, standing in the 
park towards the Zoological Gardens, and silent. 
A little beyond the ruins about the smashed 
Handling Machine I came upon the Red Weed 



278 The War of the Worlds 

thgain, and found Regent's Canal a spongy mass 
of dark-red vegetation. 

Abruptly, as I crossed the bridge, the sound 
of ' Ulla, ulla, ulla,' ceased. It was, as it were, 
cut off. The silence came like a thunder-clap. 

The dusky houses about me stood faint, and 
tall and dim ; the trees towards the park were 
growing black. All about me the Red Weed 
clambered among the ruins, writhing to get 
above me in the dim. Night, the Mother of 
Fear and Mystery, was coming upon me. But 
while that voice sounded, the solitude, the 
desolation, had been endurable ; by virtue of it 
London had still seemed alive, and the sense of 
life about me had upheld me. Then suddenly 
a change, the passing of something I knew 
not what and then a stillness that could be 
felt. Nothing but this gaunt quiet. 

London about me gazed at me spectrally. 
The windows in the white houses were like the 
eye-sockets of skulls. About me my imagina- 
tion found a thousand noiseless enemies moving. 
Terror seized me, a horror of my temerity. In 
front of me the road became pitchy black as 
though it was tarred, and I saw a contorted 
shape lying across the pathway. I could not 
bring myself to go on. I turned down St. 
John's Wood Road, and ran headlong from 






Dead London 281 

this unendurable stillness towards Kilburn. I 
hid from the night and the silence, until long 
after midnight, in a cabmen's shelter in the 
Harrow Road. But before the dawn my 
courage returned, and while the stars were 
still in the sky, I turned once more towards 
Regent's Park. I missed my way among the 
streets, and presently saw, down a long avenue, 
in the half-light of the early dawn, the curve of 
Primrose Hill. On the summit, towering up 
to the fading stars, was a third Martian, erect 
and motionless like the others. 

An insane resolve possessed me. I would 
die and end it. And I would save myself even 
the trouble of killing myself. I marched on 
recklessly towards this Titan, and then, as I 
drew nearer and the light grew, I saw that a 
multitude of black birds was circling and 
clustering about the hood. At that my heart 
gave a bound, and I began running along the 
road. 

I hurried through the Red Weed that choked 
St. Edmund's Terrace (I waded breast-high 
across a torrent of water that was rushing down 
from the waterworks towards the Albert Road), 
and emerged upon the grass before the rising 
of the sun. Great mounds had been heaped 
about the crest of the hill, making a huge re- 



282 The War of the Worlds 

doubt of it it was the final and largest place 
the Martians made and from behind these 
heaps there rose a thin smoke against the sky. 
Against the skyline an eager dog ran and dis- 
appeared. The thought that had flashed into 
my mind grew real, grew credible. I felt no 
fear, only a wild trembling exultation, as I ran 
up the hill towards the motionless monster. 
Out of the hood hung lank shreds of brown at 
which the hungry birds pecked and tore. 

In another moment I had scrambled up the 
earthen rampart and stood upon its crest, and 
the interior of the redoubt was below me. A 
mighty space it was, with gigantic machines 
here and there within it, huge mounds of 
material and strange shelter - places. And, 
scattered about it, some in their over-turned 
war-machines, some in the now rigid Handling 
Machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent 
and laid in a row, were the Martians dead / 
slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria 
against which their systems were unprepared ; 
slain as the Red Weed was being slain ; slain, 
after all man's devices had failed, by the 
humblest things that God, in His wisdom, has 
put upon this earth. 

For so it had come about, as, indeed, I and 
many men might have foreseen had not terror 



Dead London 283 

and disaster blinded our minds. These germs 
of disease have taken toll of humanity since 
the beginning of things taken toll of our pre- 
human ancestors since life began here. But by 
virtue of this natural selection of our kind we 
have developed resisting-power ; to no germs 
do we succumb without a struggle, and to many 
those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, 
for instance our living frames are altogether 
immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, 
and directly these invaders arrived, directly 
they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began 
to work their overthrow. Already when I 
watched them they were irrevocably doomed, 
dying and rotting even as they went to and 
fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion 
deaths, man has bought his birthright of the 
earth, and it is his against all comers ; it would 
still be his were the Martians ten times as 
mighty as they are. For neither do men live 
nor die in vain. 

Here and there they were scattered, nearly 
fifty altogether in that great gulf they had 
made, overtaken by a death that must have 
seemed to them as incomprehensible as any 
^ death could be. To me also at that time this 
death was incomprehensible. All I knew was 
that these things that had been alive and so 



284 The War of the Worlds 

terrible to men were dead. For a moment 
believed that the destruction of Sennacheril 
had been repeated, that God had repented, that 
the Angel of Death had slain them in th< 
night. 

I stood staring into the pit, and my heat 
lightened gloriously, even as the rising sui 
struck the world to fire about me with his rays. 
The pit was still in darkness ; the mighty en- 
gines, so great and wonderful in their power 
and complexity, so unearthly in their tortuous 
forms, rose weird and vague and strange out ol 
the shadows towards the light. A multitude oi 
dogs, I could hear, fought over the bodies that 
lay darkly in the depth of the pit, far below me. 
Across the pit on its further lip, flat and vast 
and strange, lay the great flying-machine with 
which they had been experimenting upon our 
denser atmosphere when decay and death 
arrested them. Death had come not a day too 
soon. At the sound of a cawing overhead I 
looked up at the huge Fighting Machine, that 
would fight no more for ever, at the tattered 
red shreds of flesh that dripped down upon the 
overturned seats on the summit of Primrose 
Hill. 

I turned and looked down the slope of the 
hill to where, enhaloed now in birds, stood 



Dead London 285 

those other two Martians that I had seen over- 
night, just as death had overtaken them. The 
one had died, even as it had been crying to its 
companions ; perhaps it was the last to die, and 
its voice had gone on perpetually until the force 
of its machinery was exhausted. They glit- 
tered now, harmless tripod towers of shining 
metal, in the brightness of the rising sun. . . . 
All about the pit, and saved as by a miracle 
from everlasting destruction, stretched the great 
Mother of Cities. Those who have only seen 
London veiled in her sombre robes of smoke 
can scarcely imagine the naked clearness and 
beauty of the silent wilderness of houses. 

Eastward, over the blackened ruins of the 
Albert Terrace and the splintered spire of the 
church, the sun blazed dazzling in a clear sky, 
and here and there some facet in the great 
wilderness of roofs caught the light and glared 
with a white intensity. It touched even that 
round store place for wines by the Chalk Farm 
Station, and the vast railway yards, marked 
once with a graining of black rails, but red- 
lined now with the quick rusting of a fortnight's 
disuse, with something of the mystery of beauty. 
^ Northward were Kilburn and Hampstead, 
blue and crowded with houses ; westward the 
great city was dimmed ; and southward, beyond 



286 The War of the Worlds 

the Martians, the green waves of Regent's 
Park, the Langham Hotel, the dome of the 
Albert Hall, the Imperial Institute, and the 
giant mansions of the Brompton Road, came 
out clear and little in the sunrise, the jagged 
ruins of Westminster rising hazily beyond. 
Far away and blue were the Surrey hills, and 
the towers of the Crystal Palace glittered like 
two silver rods. The dome of St. Paul's We 
dark against the sunrise, and injured, I saw for 
the first time, by a huge gaping cavity on it 
western side. 

And as I looked at this wide expanse of 
houses and factories and churches, silent anc 
abandoned ; as I thought of the multitudinous 
hopes and efforts, the innumerable hosts of 
lives that had gone to build this human reef, 
and of the swift and ruthless destruction that 
had hung over it all ; when I realized that the 
shadow had been rolled back, and that men 
might still live in the streets, and this dear vast 
dead city of mine be once more alive and 
powerful, I felt a wave of emotion that 
near akin to tears. 

The torment was over. Even that day the 
healing would begin. The survivors of the 
people scattered over the country leaderless, 
lawless, foodless, like sheep without a shepherd 



Dead London 287 

the thousands who had fled by sea, would 
begin to return ; the pulse of life, growing 
stronger and stronger, would beat again in the 
empty streets, and pour across the vacant 
squares. Whatever destruction was done, the 
hand of the destroyer was stayed. The hand of 
the destroyer was stayed. All the gaunt wrecks, 
the blackened skeletons of houses that stared so 
dismally at the sunlit grass of the hill, would 
presently be echoing with the hammers of the 
restorers and ringing with the tapping of the 
trowels. At the thought I extended my hands 
towards the sky and began thanking God. In 
a year, thought I in a year. . . . 

And then, with overwhelming force, came the 
thought of myself, of my wife, and the old life 
of hope and tender helpfulness that had ceased 
for ever. 



IX. 

WRECKAGE. 

AND now comes the strangest thing in my stoi 
And yet, perhaps, it is not altogether strange. 
I remember, clearly and coldly and vividly, all 
that I did that day until the time that I stooc 
weeping and praising God upon the summit of 
Primrose Hill. And then I forget. . . . 

Of the next three days I know nothing, 
have learnt since that, so far from my being th( 
first discoverer of the Martian overthrow, several 
such wanderers as myself had already discovered 
this on the previous night. One man the 
first had gone to St. Martin's-le-Grand, and, 
while I sheltered in the cabmen's hut, had con- 
trived to telegraph to Paris. Thence the joyful 
news had flashed all over the world ; a thousand 
cities, chilled by ghastly apprehensions, sud- 
denly flashed into frantic illumination ; the) 
knew of it in Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, 
Birmingham, at the time when I stood upon 
the verge of the pit. Already men, weeping 



Wreckage 289 

with joy, as I have heard, shouting and staying 
their work to shake hands and shout, were 
making up trains, even as near as Crewe, to 
descend upon London. The church bells that 
had ceased a fortnight since suddenly caught 
the news, until all England was bell-ring- 
ing. Men on cycles, lean-faced, unkempt, 
scorched along every country lane, shouting ot 
unhoped deliverance, shouting to gaunt, staring 
figures of despair. And for the food ! Across 
the Channel, across the Irish Sea, across the 
Atlantic, corn, bread and meat were tearing to 
our relief. All the shipping in the world 
seemed going Londonward in those days. But 
of all this I have no memory. I drifted a 
demented man. I found myself in the house of 
kindly people who had found me on the third 
day, wandering, weeping and raving, through 
the streets of St. John's Wood. They have 
told me since that I was singing some inane 
doggerel about ' The Last Man Left Alive, 
Hurrah ! The Last Man Left Alive.' Troubled 
as they were with their own affairs, these people, 
whose name, much as I would like to express 
my gratitude to them, I may not even give 
here, nevertheless cumbered themselves with 
Ine, sheltered me and protected me from my- 
self. Apparently they had learnt something 

19 



290 The War of the Worlds 

of my story from me during the days of my 
lapse. 

Very gently, when my mind was assure( 
again, did they break to me what they hac 
learnt of the fate of Leatherhead. Two days 
after I was imprisoned it had been destroyed, 
with every soul in it, by a Martian. He hac 
swept it out of existence, as it seemed, without 
any provocation, as a boy might crush an ant- 
hill, in the mere wantonness of power. 

I was a lonely man, and they were very kind 
to me. I was a lonely man and a sad one, 
and they bore with me. I remained with them 
four days after my recovery. All that time 
I felt a vague, a growing craving to look 
once more on whatever remained of the little 
life that seemed so happy and bright in my 
past. It was a mere hopeless desire to feast 
upon my misery. They dissuaded me. The) 
did all they could to divert me from this 
morbidity. But at last I could resist the im- 
pulse no longer, and promising faithfully to 
return to them, and parting, as I will confess, 
from these four-day friends with tears, I went 
out again into the streets that had lately been 
so dark and strange and empty. 

Already they were busy with returning 
people, in places even there were shops 



Wreckage 29 1 

open, and I saw a drinking fountain running 
water. 

I remember how mockingly bright the day 
seemed as I went back on my melancholy 
pilgrimage to the little house at Woking, how 
busy the streets and vivid the moving life about 
me. So many people were abroad everywhere, 
busied in a thousand activities, that it seemed 
incredible that any great proportion of the 
population could have been slain. But then I 
noticed how yellow were the skins of the people 
I met, how shaggy the hair of the men, how 
large and bright their eyes, and that every 
other man still wore his dirty rags. The faces 
seemed all with one of two expressions a 
leaping exultation and energy, or a grim resolu- 
tion. Save for the expression of the faces, 
London seemed a city of tramps. The vestries 
were indiscriminately distributing bread sent us 
by the French Government. The ribs of the 
few horses showed dismally. Haggard special 
constables with white badges stood at the 
corners of every street. I saw little of the 
mischief wrought by the Martians until I 
reached Wellington Street, and there I saw 
the Red Weed clambering over the buttresses 
<!>f Waterloo Bridge. 

At the corner of the bridge, too, I saw one 

19 2 



292 The War of the Worlds 

of the common contrasts of that grotesque 
time : a sheet of paper flaunting against a 
thicket of the Red Weed, transfixed by a stick 
that kept it in place. It was the placard of the 
first newspaper to resume publication the 
Daily Mail. I bought a copy for a blackened 
shilling I found in my pocket. Most of it was 
in blank, but the solitary compositor who die 
the thing had amused himself by making 
grotesque scheme of advertisement stereo on 
the back page. The matter he printed We 
emotion ; the news organization had not as yet 
found its way back. I learnt nothing fresl 
except that already in one week the examina- 
tion of the Martian mechanisms had yielded 
astonishing results. Among other things, the 
article assured me what I did not believe at the 
time : that the ' Secret of Flying ' was dis- 
covered. At Waterloo I found the free trains 
that were taking people to their homes. The 
first rush was already over. There were few 
people in the train, and I was in no mood for 
casual conversation. I got a compartment tc 
myself, and sat with folded arms, looking grayly 
at the sunlit devastation that flowed past the 
windows. And just outside the terminus the 
train jolted over temporary rails, and on either 
side of the railway the houses were blackened 



Wreckage 293 

ruins. To Clapham Junction the face of 
London was grimy with powder of the Black 
Smoke, in spite of two days of thunderstorms 
and rain, and at Clapham Junction the line had 
been wrecked again ; there were hundreds of 
out-of-work clerks and shopmen working side 
by side with the customary navvies, and we 
were jolted over a hasty relaying. 

All down the line from there the aspect of 
the country was gaunt and unfamiliar ; Wimble- 
don particularly had suffered. Walton, by 
virtue of its unburnt pine-woods, seemed the 
least hurt of any place along the line. The 
Wandle, the Mole, every little stream, was a 
heaped mass of Red Weed, in appearance 
between butcher's meat and pickled cabbage. 
The Surrey pine-woods were too dry, however, 
for the festoons of the red climber. Beyond 
Wimbledon, within sight of the line, in certain 
nursery grounds, were the heaped masses of 
earth about the sixth cylinder. A number of 
people were standing about it, and some 
sappers were busy in the midst of it. Over it 
flaunted a Union Jack, flapping cheerfully in 
the morning breeze. The nursery grounds 
, were everywhere crimson with the weed, a 
wide expanse of livid colour cut with purple 
shadows, and very painful to the eye. One's 



294 The War of the Worlds 

gaze went with infinite relief from the scorched 
grays and sullen reds of the foreground to the 
blue-green softness of the eastward hills. 

The line on the London side of Woking 
Station was still undergoing repair, so I 
descended at Byfleet Station and took the road 
to Maybury, past the place where I and the 
artilleryman had talked to the hussars, and 
on by the spot where the Martian had 
appeared to me in the thunderstorm. Here, 
moved by curiosity, I turned aside to find, 
among a tangle of red fronds, the warped and 
broken dogcart with the whitened bones of the 
horse, scattered and gnawed. For a time I 
stood regarding these vestiges. . . . 

Then I returned through the pine-wood, neck- 
high with Red Weed here and there, to find 
the landlord of the Spotted Dog had already 
found burial ; and so came home past the 
College Arms. A man standing at an open 
cottage door greeted me by name as I passed. 

I looked at my house with a quick flash of 
hope that faded immediately. The door had 
been forced ; it was unfastened, and was open- 
ing slowly as I approached. 

It slammed again. The curtains of my 
study fluttered out of the open window from 
which I and the artilleryman had watched the 



Wreckage 295 

dawn. No one had closed that window since. 
The smashed bushes were just as I had left 
them nearly four weeks ago. I stumbled into 
the hall, and the house felt empty. The stair- 
carpet was ruffled and discoloured where I had 
crouched soaked to the skin from the thunder- 
storm, the night of the catastrophe. Our 
muddy footsteps I saw still went up the stairs. 

I followed them to my study, and found lying 
on my writing-table still, with the selenite 
paper-weight upon] it, the sheet of work I had 
left on the afternoon of the opening of the 
cylinder. For a space I stood reading over my 
abandoned arguments. It was a paper on the 
probable development of Moral Ideas with the 
development of the civilizing process ; and the 
last sentence was the opening of a prophecy : 
* In about two hundred years,' I had written, 

' we may expect ' The sentence ended 

abruptly. I remembered my inability to fix my 
mind that morning, scarcely a month gone by, 
and how I had broken off to get my Daily 
Chronicle from the newsboy. I remembered 
how I went down to the garden gate as he 
came along, and how I had listened to his odd 
^story of the ' Men from Mars.' 

I came down and went into the dining-room. 
There were the mutton and the bread, both far 



296 The War of the Worlds 

gone now in decay, and a beer bottle over- 
turned, just as I and the artilleryman had left 
them. My home was desolate. I perceived 
the folly of the faint hope I had cherished so 
long. And then a strange thing occurred. 
'It is no use,' said a voice. 'The house is 
deserted. No one has been here these ten 
days. Do not stay here to torment yourself. 
No one escaped but you.' 

I was startled. Had I spoken my thought 
aloud ? I turned, and the French window was 
open behind me. I made a step to it, and 
stood looking out. 

And there, amazed and afraid, even as I 
stood amazed and afraid, were my cousin and 
my wife my wife white and tearless. She 
gave a faint cry. 

' I came,' she said. ' I knew knew ' 

She put her hand to her throat swayed. I 
made a step forward, and caught her in my 
arms. 



X. 

THE EPILOGUE. 

I CANNOT but regret, now that I am concluding 
my story, how little I am able to contribute to 
the discussion of the many debatable questions 
which are still unsettled. In one respect I 
shall certainly provoke criticism. My particular 
province is speculative philosophy. My know- 
ledge of comparative physiology is confined to 
a book or two, but it seems to me that Carver's 
suggestions as to the reason of the rapid death 
of the Martians is so probable as to be regarded 
almost as a proven conclusion. I have assumed 
that in the body of my narrative. 

At any rate, in all the bodies of the Martians 
that were examined after the war, no bacteria 
except those already known as terrestrial species 
were found. That they did not bury any of 
their dead, and the reckless slaughter they per- 
petrated, point also to an entire ignorance of 
the putrefactive process. But probable as this 
seems, it is by no means a proven conclusion. 



298 The War of the Worlds 

Neither is the composition of the Black 
Smoke known, which the Martians used with 
such deadly effect, and the generator of the 
Heat- Ray remains a puzzle. The terrible 
disasters at the Ealing and South Kensington 
laboratories have disinclined analysts for further 
investigations upon the latter. Spectrum ana- 
lysis of the black powder points unmistakably 
to the presence of an unknown element with a 
brilliant group of three lines in the green, and 
it is possible that it combines with argon to 
form a compound which acts at once with 
deadly effect upon some constituent in the 
blood. But such unproven speculations will 
scarcely be of interest to the general reader, to 
whom this story is addressed. None of the 
brown scum that drifted down the Thames after 
the destruction of Shepperton was examined at 
the time, and now none is forthcoming. 

The results of an anatomical examination of 
the Martians, so far as the prowling dogs had 
left such an examination possible, I have 
already given. But everyone is familiar with 
the magnificent and almost complete specimen 
in spirits at the Natural History Museum, and 
the countless drawings that have been made 
from it ; and beyond that the interest of the 
physiology and structure is purely scientific. 



The Epilogue 299 

A question of graver and universal interest is 
the possibility of another attack from the Mar- 
tians. I do not think that nearly enough atten- 
tion is being given to this aspect of the matter. 
At present the planet Mars is in conjunction, 
but with every return to opposition I, for one, 
anticipate a renewal of their adventure. In 
any case, we should be prepared. It seems to 
me that it should be possible to define the 
position of the gun from which the shots are 
discharged, to keep a sustained watch upon this 
part of the planet, and to anticipate the arrival 
of the next attack. 

In that case the cylinder might be destroyed 
with dynamite or artillery before it was suffi- 
ciently cool for the Martians to emerge, or 
they might be butchered by means of guns so 
soon as the screw opened. It seems to me 
that they have lost a vast advantage in the 
failure of their first surprise. Possibly they 
see it in the same light. 

Lessing had advanced excellent reasons for 
supposing that the Martians have actually suc- 
ceeded in effecting a landing on the planet 
Venus. Seven months ago now, Venus and 
Mars were in alignment with the sun ; that is to 
say, Mars was in opposition from the point of 
view of an observer on Venus. Subsequently 



300 



The War of the Worlds 



a peculiar luminous and sinuous marking 
appeared on the unillumined half of the inner 
planet, and almost simultaneously a faint dark 
mark of a similar sinuous character was de- 
tected upon a photograph of the Martian disc. 
One needs to see the drawings of these appear- 
ances in order to appreciate fully their remark- 
able resemblance in character. 

At any rate, whether we expect another in- 
vasion or not, our views of the human future 
must be greatly modified by these events. 
\ We have learned now that we cannot regard 
' this planet as being fenced in and a secure 
abiding- place for Man ; we can never antici- 
pate the unseen good or evil that may come 
upon us suddenly out of space. It may be 
that in the larger design of the universe this 
invasion from Mars is not without its ultimate 
benefit for men ; it has robbed us of that 
serene confidence in the future which is the 
most fruitful source of decadence, the gifts to 
human science it has brought are enormous, 
and it has done much to promote the con- 
ception of the commonweal of mankind. It 
may be that across the immensity of space 
the Martians have watched the fate of these 
pioneers of theirs and learned their lesson, and 
that on the planet Venus they have found a 



The Epilogue 301 

securer settlement. Be that as it may, for 
many years yet there will certainly be no re- 
laxation of the eager scrutiny of the Martian 
disc, and those fiery darts of the sky, the 
shooting stars, will bring with them as they fall 
an unavoidable apprehension to all the sons of 
men. 

The broadening of men's views that has 
resulted can scarcely be exaggerated. Before 
the cylinder fell there was a general persuasion 
that through all the deep of space no life existed 
beyond the petty surface of our minute sphere. 
Now we see further. If the Martians can 
reach Venus, there is no reason to suppose that 
the thing is impossible for men, and when the 
slow cooling of the sun makes this earth unin- 
habitable, as at last it must do, it may be that the 
thread of life that has begun here will have 
streamed out and caught our sister planet within 
its toils. Should we conquer ? 

Dim and wonderful is the vision I have con- 
jured up in my mind of life spreading slowly 
from this little seed-bed of the solar system 
throughout the inanimate vastness of sidereal 
space. But that is a remote dream. It may 
be, on the other hand, that the destruction of 
the Martians is only a reprieve. To them, and 
not to us, perhaps, is the future ordained. 



302 The War of the Worlds 

I must confess the stress and danger of the 
time have left an abiding sense of doubt am 
insecurity in my mind. I sit in my stud) 
writing by lamplight, and suddenly I see again 
the healing valley below set with writhing 
flames, and feel the house behind and about me 
empty and desolate. I go out into the By fleet 
Road, and vehicles pass me, a butcher-boy in a 
cart, a cabful of visitors, a workman on a 
bicycle, children going to school, and suddenly 
they become vague and unreal, and I hurry 
again with the artilleryman through the hot, 
brooding silence. Of a night I see the black 
powder darkening the silent streets, and the 
contorted bodies shrouded in that layer ; they 
rise upon me tattered and dog-bitten. They 
gibber and grow fiercer, paler, uglier, mad dis- 
tortions of humanity at last, and I wake, cold 
and wretched, in the darkness of the night. 

I go to London and see the busy multitudes 
in Fleet Street and the Strand, and it comes 
across my mind that they are but the ghosts of 
the past, haunting the streets that I have seen 
silent and wretched, going to and fro, phantasms 
in a dead city, the mockery of life in a galvan- 
ized body. And strange, too, it is to stand on 
Primrose Hill, as I did but a day before writing 
this last chapter, to see the great province of 



The Epilogue 303 

houses, dim and blue through the haze of the 
smoke and mist, vanishing at last into the vague 
lower sky, to see the people walking to and fro 
among the flower-beds on the hill, to see the 
sightseers about the Martian machine that 
stands there still, to hear the tumult of playing 
children, and to recall the time when I saw it 
all bright and clear-cut, hard and silent, under 
the dawn of that last great day. . . . 

And strangest of all is it to hold my wife's 
hand again, and to think that I have counted 
her, and that she has counted me, among the 
dead. 



THE END. 



BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD. 



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^Autumn ^Announcements 5 
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